The N Word (No NOT that N word)

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Writer’s warning:  the following blog post contains content that may be offensive to some people.  Especially to those who are part of Google Blogger or Facebook.

 

Let’s get naked.

 

No really, if you are part of Blogger or Facebook, you may be in trouble just saying it much less posting a picture of it.

 

A couple of weeks ago, my blog post was about an email that I received from Google that they were changing their policy regarding nude pictures in any of their blogs.  As I mentioned at that time, I never had any nude pictures in any of my blogs.  However, for some reason, just writing about it triggered some sort of notification from Google to send out an email to me regarding their policy change that they were going to make to their service.  I tried to justify how their system worked or how it might have worked.

 

Well, a few days later, I received the following email from Google:

 

Dear Blogger User,

This week, you received an email telling you about some changes we were
making to the Blogger Content Policy. In that email, we announced a change
to Blogger’s porn policy stating that blogs that distributed sexually
explicit images or graphic nudity would be made private.

We’ve received lots of feedback about making a policy change that impacts
longstanding blogs and the negative impact on individuals who post sexually
explicit content to express their identities.

We appreciate the feedback. Instead of making this change, we will be
maintaining our existing policies (http://www.blogger.com/content.g).

What this means for your blog:
Commercial porn will continue to be prohibited.
If you have pornographic or sexually explicit content on your blog, you
must turn on the adult content setting
(https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/86944?hl=en) so a warning will
show.

If you don’t have sexually explicit content on your blog and you’re
following the rest of the Blogger Content Policy
(http://www.blogger.com/content.g), you don’t need to make any changes to
your blog.

Thank you for your continued feedback,

The Blogger Team So, overall, Google backtracked their policy and decided to keep their existing policy in place.  However, I have yet to receive that email that says “Oops, your blog does not contain any graphic images so we made a mistake. We are extremely sorry for our mistake.  Forgive us please.” However, things with Facebook are much more wishy-washy.  They have updated their “Community Standards” with generalizations that could be interpreted in many different ways.  They don’t make clear what is really pornographic except to say that if it involves a minor then it is removed otherwise it may be more discretionary behavior.   Over the past few weeks, I have reported several graphically explicit images.  Some of them were deleted by Facebook, however, most were said not violate their “Community Standards”.  So, why are some deleted and others kept up?  I believe this has more to do with who is checking the pictures rather than general “Community Standards”..  in other words, the pictures taken down are more subjective than an overall takedown of all pictures. I believe that this should be an all-or-nothing policy:  either take down all nude images or leave them all up.  This would certainly create many problems, because everybody have different value systems. This brings me to another issue: just mentioning nudity can be a problem.  As one of my friends found out, she was reported to Facebook for just the mere mention of nudity, without any pictures involved.  Apparently, one of her friends has different standards than my friend does.  Since I never saw the post, I cannot say what this post said, but it may have offended someone on her friend’s list. So let’s see:  Blogger won’t let me talk about nudity and thinks I have it on my blog and Facebook will allow reports on just talking about nudity, but allows nudity at its own discretion. Do we see a multiple standards here?  What is offensive to some are ok to other people. Here are a couple of more examples of the past that may either offend people or maybe not even bother them. Example #1: A few months ago, the magazine “Paper” had a rather graphic pictorial of Kim Kardashian in its magazine.  Since this magazine had full body nudes of her, I would have expected that this would have been shrink-wrapped to protect anyone under 18 from picking up this magazine.  No such luck as this magazine had no wrapper whatsoever and the cover itself was rather graphic as well.   It might be said that these pictures are artistic in nature rather than pornographic, but this is more opinion and a matter of taste.  Still, it shows a full naked body and should have been wrapped no matter what. Example #2: A few years ago, the magazine “New York” ran a multi-page pictorial of actress Lindsay Lohan recreating the final photoshoot of Marilyn Monroe.  The cover along with the pictures inside was of a graphic nude nature, but like example #1 could also be considered art rather than nude.  Again, the magazine was readily available to anyone as this magazine was not shrink-wrapped either.   So here we have to graphic nude magazines, neither wrapped, and both readily available to any customer who wants to purchase them.  However, to some, these might be just considered art and not any type of pornography. Let’s review all this.  What is nudity and what is art is a subject to opinion.  However, I believe that if someone is nude in a picture it doesn’t belong in an unwrapped magazine nor does belong in an open space like Facebook or Google’s Blogger service. But everyone seems to blur the lines of what is ok and what is not acceptable.  It seems that what is acceptable is trash to others even if nudity is mentioned, not even shown. Overall, doesn’t all this violate people’s first amendment rights?  However, I can never picture the founding fathers taking nude selfies of themselves or people like Martha Washington winding up naked in the latest issue of “Common Sense”. If only the founding fathers saw the world today, they may have been writing a very different first amendment, but then again maybe they had that stuff back then, but it was never documented anywhere because they were embarrassed by it.   We will never know what those founding fathers did back then.   Maybe we are better off that way.

 

A Tribute to Roger Snow

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Photo/Obituary Published by Maine Sunday Telegram

Photo/Obituary Published by Maine Sunday Telegram

There are very few teachers during my years in school that had such an impact in a couple of aspects of my life as Roger Snow did.  Posted above is his obituary as it appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram this week.

 

His passion for his craft exceeded anything that I ever saw from anyone.

 

It is difficult to call him a real teacher because he traveled amongst the different schools here in South Portland, Maine to spread his talents of teaching others the fine art of music.

 

When I was in the 5th grade, I wanted to learn a musical instrument.  So my parents and I went to my cousin’s music shop to look for an instrument.  My thoughts were that I really didn’t want to have any instrument that I had to blow because I usually had a shortness of breath so this type of instrument was out of the question.

 

So my choices were limited to something like the piano or violin.  Since my parents could not afford a piano and it would be heavy to bring to school, I decided on the violin.  The violin that my parents purchased was new and it cost about $500.  After shelling out that much money for the instrument, they could not really afford to purchase a new case which would have set them back a couple more hundred.  So I ended up buying a used and sort of rough-looking case.  It didn’t look great and was a little discolored but it served its purpose.

 

I used a DYMO label maker to put a label with my name and address on the case so it could be returned if ever lost.  Ironically that label has lasted many years later.  Unfortunately, my violin career hasn’t lasted that long.

 

I was one of two people at my elementary school who were interested in playing the violin, me and a girl.  As it turned out, her affection for the instrument varied and she would not show up for the practice sessions set up by Mr. Snow, our teacher.

 

I practiced the violin for about an hour everyday trying to learn the notes and songs from the songbook which was provided to me.  The learning of the notes was extremely difficult for me as I could not read music that well.

 

However, Mr. Snow was persistent that I could learn to read the notes even if I had to write down every translation below the bars in the book.  That, unfortunately, is exactly what I had to do.  Mr. Snow did not care if I did that because he felt that it was the best way to learn.  Unfortunately for me, I did this all the time throughout my short but beneficial musical career.

 

My high point of my musical career came at the 6th grade Christmas school program.   The girl who was supposed to perform with me was no-show.  So a decision had to be made:  would I perform alone or not perform at all.

 

Mr. Snow came to the rescue.

He encouraged me to go out and face the audience and perform what I had long been practicing.  I could feel the sweat dripping down my back as all of a sudden I felt the tie I was wearing suddenly tightened like a noose around my neck.

 

So Mr. Snow and I walked out onto the gymnasium floor together, where we started performing together.  Shortly he would stop, leaving me to continue the songs by myself.  I was still nervous even though he was sitting beside me.  After performing my 3 Christmas songs, Mr. Snow prompted me to stand up and take a bow. The crowd had given me a standing ovation.  Nervously I held my instrument with bow in one hand and violin in the other and bent over like I was going to have a stroke or something worse.  At this point, I could not wait to leave the floor and go out into the entry way.  Mr. Snow congratulated me on a job well done and I watched the remainder of the show from in the back of the room.

 

This night was probably the high point in my entire musical career.  Correction, this was the high point as things sort of went downhill from here.  The girl never returned to violin class ever again after this particular night.  So I spent the rest of the year alone in this class.

 

When I got into junior high school (7th grade), I was not alone.  There was one other boy, Michael, and 3 girls in the violin class.  Michael was not a great student, but he excelled at the violin.  As a group, Michael led us when we needed help because he had been playing the violin for several years and was a couple of years older than the rest of us.  His passion along with the passion of Mr. Snow  made our time very enjoyable over the next year and we performed well together during all the junior high programs that we were invited to.

 

Then came 8th grade and for some reason Mr. Snow was removed from the South Portland school music department.  It was never known if he retired or if he was forced out of the department.  This was the worst thing that could have happened to us.

 

His replacement wanted to transform Mr. Snow’s orchestra into the new head’s band.  What this meant was that the violin section would be history.  We had a choice: pick up a new instrument or leave altogether.  However, Michael would have none of that.  He led a protest to keep the violin section and keep the whole group as an orchestra.

 

Michael’s passion led to failure and unfortunately for the 5 of us, we were shown the door.  It took a few weeks before the final decision to oust us happen but when it did, Michael took it the worst.  He became so distraught over the whole situation that he dropped out of school and allegedly got hooked on drugs.  As far as I knew, he never went back to school becoming a victim of the ignorance of the school department.  I saw Michael a few years ago and he seemed to be off drugs and much more mellow, but he looked much different and appeared to finally be at peace with the world and himself.

 

However, the real question for those of us who cared was what happened to Mr. Snow.  Rumors circulated that he was fired; others said he was forced out, and others thought he just retired.  My violin ended up getting retired living in the storage space in my parent’s garage.  It has not been opened in many years so I don’t know the condition of the instrument, but I have no intention on selling it.

 

That question would always remain unanswered for me, but his disappearance would not be long as during high school in 10th grade he made reappearance in my life.

 

During my sophomore year in high school, when I had the first chance, I decided to take the driver’s education course offered in the school.  Since the course was held at the school, we all were sitting there on the first day anxious to find out who the teacher was.  To my surprise, and the surprise of others, the teacher was Mr. Snow, the music teacher who inspired my musical aspirations.

 

He was a great teacher of driver’s training, but when it came to actually getting behind the wheel of a car that became a different story for some.  I remember the car being a bright red Chrysler K car, a popular type of front-wheel drive car of its day.  The car clearly was labeled a driver’s education car with a big sticker on both front doors and on the trunk.  The label had the Chrysler logo on it with the words “STUDENT DRIVER” clearly written on it.

 

For me, it should have said “LOOKOUT CRAZY LOON ON BOARD”.  Given that Mr. Snow took out 4 students per day for their driving lesson, my day was always met with the same sort of sweat that haunted me years earlier at the solo Christmas concert back in elementary school.

 

My first time behind the wheel, the vehicle was parked near a cliff overlooking Sebago Lake.  Naturally, the first thing I did was to put the car into drive and almost sent the car over the cliff.  Thankfully, Mr. Snow had a brake pedal on his side of the car to stop me from making him, me and the others a stupid lesson on how not to drive and end all of our lives in a heartbeat.

 

Over the next few weeks, each of the four of us, were allowed about a half hour of drive time so we were together in the car for about 2 hours a week.  While everyone else in our group progressed rather well, I still struggled with the whole driving thing.

 

However, Mr. Snow was persistent in seeing me succeed as I did in music class.  When the course ended, everyone else was ready to take their driver’s test, but Mr. Snow did not want to see me fail.

 

Since he had the driver’s education car for another few weeks, he decided to give me additional lessons free to give me more time behind the wheel.  This extra time made a huge difference as this extra training along with the time my father gave me driving his car allowed me to pass my driver’s test in the first try.  I was extremely proud and happy that Mr. Snow did this much to help me succeed for a second time in my life.  Also, the Chrysler K car survived with all the bumpers and 4 wheels still on it.

 

He went above and beyond anyone in wanting to help me.  I think he would have done this for anyone who needed the help.  It was just part of his nature.  However, I believe that anyone who would do something without pay just shows his dedication to his craft.  He had the drive to make anyone succeed whether behind the wheel or behind a musical instrument.  (Writer’s note:  Sorry about that pun I could not resist.)

 

In the years that followed, I only saw Mr. Snow a couple of times when I worked at the mall.  He pretty much kept a fairly private life despite having such a talented existence.  Maybe that is why he was so great, he knew when to stay out of the limelight and let others get the glory.

 

But here in this blog post, I felt it was time that he got the glory that he long deserved.  Unfortunately, I had to write it as an obituary tribute rather than as a lifelong tribute to someone who always went that extra mile.  (Writer’s note:  Sorry about that one too.)

 

When I decided to write this, I wanted to find a current picture of Mr. Snow to put into this post, but I could not find one.  Since my old yearbooks were not accessible, the only picture that I have is an old picture of someone at the beginning of their career rather than the older white-haired gentleman that I knew all those years.  Either way, he had a long honorable life and always had my respect.

 

Rest in peace, Mr. Snow.  I know someone up there wants to hear you play one of your many instruments that you played so well.  You will never be forgotten especially every time I get behind the wheel of my car.  Just as long as I don’t ever find that cliff and forget which way to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Clueless Again

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Fake Warning:  The following contains content not suitable for most people.  It contains content that would make “50 Shades of Grey” look like a Mother Goose fairy tale.

 

I will discuss the above fake warning shortly, but first.

 

A couple of days ago, I received the following email from Google.  Here it is in its entirety:

 

Dear Blogger User,

We’re writing to tell you about an upcoming change to the Blogger Content
Policy that may affect your account.

In the coming weeks, we’ll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually
explicit or graphic nude images or video. We’ll still allow nudity
presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or
where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking
action on the content.

The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this
policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified
as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted,
but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the
blog will be able to see the content we’ve made private.

Our records indicate that your account may be affected by this policy
change. Please refrain from creating new content that would violate this
policy. Also, we ask that you make any necessary changes to your existing
blog to comply as soon as possible, so that you won’t experience any
interruptions in service. You may also choose to create an archive of your
content via Google Takeout.

 

Let me say that I have a couple of problems with the above message.  First and foremost is that I have not used Blogger in nearly 6 months for any of my blogs and 2 of the blogs have not been used for over 4 years.

 

Secondly, and most important is that I have NEVER EVER had any explicit images on ANY of my Blogger pages.  Nor would I ever have any either.

 

So why the notice was sent is a mystery?

I have 2 theories for this.

 

The first is that this was a mass warning to all Blogger authors so that they know what their new policy will be.  However, given that they flagged my account makes me think that this is not true.

 

My second thought is that Google used some sort of reader to check their accounts for possible content that may be deemed as offensive.  However, since a reader can’t “read” pictures, it can only read words and thinks that some pictures might be included with what is written.

 

I will admit that my “Staples” blog has contained references to adult content, but contained no images.  So apparently, the reader that Google uses can only anticipate what might be there in the blog, not what really is contained within it.

 

In other words, Google is parsing the blogs incorrectly.

 

Yes, I said PARSING.

 

In computer lingo, this means evaluating words while trying to interpret their intended meaning.  Word processors do this all the time as you type trying to anticipate what you mean and try to make sense of what could be improper grammar.

 

This is all well and good if it works the way it should.  However, there are times when parsing doesn’t work quite as planned.  A good example is of course the notice that I received.

 

But there is another which I have been battling for the last six years.

 

It is what I call the job application.

 

Back in the old days, if you wanted to apply for a job, you went to the location of the business and pick up an application.  You would then drop off the application and somebody would actually read it.  If they liked what they read, you would be called for an interview.

 

This is not the case today, however.

 

Today, a job application is filled out online usually at some corporate website.  From there, you enter all your personal information and in some cases, you take some sort of personality test or other type of test.

 

After you finish the application, the applicant is usually given an email response from the company they applied to, sometimes almost immediately.  The result is usually that you don’t meet their qualifications or some other lame excuse.  I really wonder how a computer can make a decision that really should be made by a human.

 

Welcome to another case of how a parser can create unnecessary havoc in a person’s life.  I always believe that a potential employer never gets to know a candidate unless they get a physical interview with them.

 

Over the past six years of applying for a job, I have been turned down every time and have never been selected for an interview despite having over 25 years of job experience.  Ironically, the only company that I heard from for a potential interview is the soon-to-be-late RadioShack.

 

Apparently, they must have parsed my application again and changed their mind.  Maybe that was the only time I felt lucky that I didn’t get a job due  to some non-human reading my job application.

 

Maybe parsing isn’t so bad after all…if only Google would know better.

 

But then again, if they did I would not have anything to write about.

 

Before I close this post, let me explain that fake warning at the beginning of this blog.  This is really a test to see if WordPress decides to implement a similar policy regarding adult content even though no pictures exist.  If I get any notice from them, then I will know that WordPress has a bad parser as well that doesn’t know words from pictures and doesn’t know the way things are put in context and can easily be taken the wrong way if not read by a human.

 

Here to hoping that WordPress can interpret their blogs properly and not the way that Google does with its Blogger service.  I am so glad I no longer use that service and if any of you readers out there still do, I recommend switching to something else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Odds and Ends

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This week’s post will be fairly short but I want to talk about a few different topics this time around.

 

First up, fake news makers have been making real news in the last 24 hours.

 

Brian Williams of NBC News has received a 6 month suspension without pay for embellishing stories of events that he was involved in.  Certainly he was catering to the late night entertainment audience by his fluffing up his stories.  Anybody who has ever watched any of those late night shows knows that everybody does this.  Of course, a person like David Letterman is a sucker for this sort of banter.

 

I don’t believe that Mr. Williams should have been suspended.  The reason is that over time we all forget details of what happens in our lives.  So it is only logical that he made up parts to make his story sound better than it really is.  Those who believe that Mr. Williams integrity has been ruined by this is delusional.

 

For those of you too young to remember, David Letterman used to have a morning talk show and one part of the show was NBC newsman Edwin Newman.  Since this show was done in front of a live audience, Mr. Newman would regularly laugh it up with Dave.  Certainly his professionalism was never called into question, but then again I bet it has something to do with the new management at NBC’s Comcast head, who probably just was not a fan of Mr. Williams to begin with.

 

The other startling fake news person is the announcement of Jon Stewart leaving his late night show on Comedy Central.  While I have never watched his show any more than I watched Brian Williams on his nightly news show,  it seems like an odd coincidence that these two events would happen on the same day.

 

Rumors have been quickly spreading that Stewart is in talks to become the new host of NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

 

Does anybody else see the irony here?  We have a fake newsperson wanting to take over a real news program and a real newscaster thrown off a real news show for having fake stories.  Honestly, I think there is something very wrong at NBC, which probably explains why I don’t watch any shows on that network anymore.  It seems that they are just a lost cause.

 

Secondly, those of you who are regular readers of this blog knows that last year I wrote about somebody or some bodies was using my Gmail account and setting up things like twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, and some dating websites.

 

Now it has gotten much worse.  One self-storage company in California claims that my email address is valid with them despite that I live in Maine and have never done business with them.  This has gone one for over a year now and I now am considering reporting them to the Better Business Bureau for fraudulent activity against me.

 

In the past week, I have also received bills emailed to me of past due statements from a U-Haul rental in Arkansas and a student loan bill in excess of $20,000, which is not mine either.  The latter has been resolved but I am still waiting on the U-Haul bill that isn’t mine to be resolved.

 

Overall, Google offers no help to prevent this type of fraudulent activity and it is up to each individual company to do the right thing by eliminating my email address from these activities.  However, some companies just seem to refuse to do so.  I consider this a continued warning to those who have a Gmail account that there is very little protection when compared to other email services.

 

Finally, I want to talk snow.  Here in Maine, we have way too much.  This more than I can ever remember.  However, back when I was little, I remember these type of severe snowstorms that had huge amounts of snow, but for many years, the snow has been nothing anywhere near what this year has been.  Anybody who thinks global warning exists, I invite them to come to New England and take some snow home with them.  We certainly won’t miss it.

 

So that is it for this week’s post as I and everyone else awaits the next snowstorm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Predictions of 2014 and 2015

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Well, it is that time of year again where I dig out my crystal ball and look back at the 2014 predictions and make new ones for 2015.  I reported that at least 3 would come true – let’s see how close I came.

 

Here are the predictions and the results in parenthesis:

 

  • Justin Bieber will go to jail.  (It happened at least once maybe more.)
  • Kim Kardashian will admit that “Baby North” really never existed and that her pregnancy was fake.  (No, it did not happen.)
  • Kim Kardashian will marry and divorce Kanye West all within the year.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • RadioShack will be out of business.  (No, it hasn’t happened yet.)
  • JCPenney will be out of business.  (No, it hasn’t happened yet.)
  • Kmart will be out of business.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • Amanda Bynes returns to TV in a new comedy show, but will also do an interview with Oprah describing the last few years.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • Time Warner Cable will be sold and broken up into pieces leaving smaller markets such as where I live without any providers at all.  This means that many small independent cable operators will start up after many years.  (No, in fact a possible merger with Comcast might happen instead.)
  • Lady Gaga will do a Playboy layout proving that he/she is dual gendered leaving many fans disgusted. (Thankfully, this didn’t happen.)
  • Nickelodeon will scrap “Sam & Cat” and Dan Schneider will leave the network and produce shows for rival Disney.  (The first half is true, the second is not.)
  • Hilary Duff will divorce and sister Haylie will marry.  (Not quite on both.)
  • ABCFamily cancels that horrible “The Vineyard” and “Twisted”.  (Fortunately, yes to both.)
  • Fox News fires Karl Rove after making offensive statements that the network hates.  (No, it didn’t happen.)

 

So last year I once again scored 2 ½ right out of a possible 13.  I barely missed my goal of 3 correct, but I was close.  Now let’s gaze into the crystal ball for 2015 predictions:

  • The merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast will be placed on hold as both companies would have to discharge some of their market holdings.
  • The possibility of a Staples/Office Max (Depot) merger is canned as neither side can agree on any merger details.
  • Given no merger, Office Max (Depot) shuts down at least half of their remaining locations.
  • As well, Staples shuts down an additional 300 stores as the hack attack of 2014 grows larger.
  • On the brink of bankruptcy, RadioShack is saved by a last minute investor who wants to merge it with another big box retailer.
  • Walmart suffers a major hack attack, which causes millions of credit and debit cards to be compromised.
  • The E! Network finally cancels everything Kardashian as the network struggles to survive.
  • Adam West, TV’s 1960’s Batman, will be the voice of an aged Bruce Wayne on an episode of the Fox series “Gotham”.
  • California will suffer a substantial earthquake in the area north of Los Angeles.
  • Keystone pipeline will be defeated in Congress.
  • MTV will cancel “Eye Candy”.
  • My ex Tanya will get a divorce and return back to Maine wanting to search me out and try and patch things up. Of course, I accept (what choice do I have?).
  • I will either get a new job or a new girlfriend in 2015, but not both.

Out of my 13 predictions for this year, I predict only 2 of them will actually happen.  Maybe it is time for a new crystal ball.

Next time, I expect that my 2 blogs will each have their own unique content again.  At least that is my plan for now, but I can’t make any promises because I can’t predict what happens in the world especially given my seemingly defective crystal ball.

New Year, Old Problems?

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Well, here we are at 2015.

 

Did you notice any REAL differences from the year that past?

 

If you answered no, then you came to the right place.

 

If you answered yes, then you really came to the right place.

 

First off, let me say that this post is being placed into both of my blogs as I am only writing one year-end summary this year instead of two.

 

For those of you who read the annual report that I posted last week while I was off, let me say that I am more than disappointed by the results.

 

On the “Staples” and “Rants” blog, it seemed that more people were interested in my relationship with Tanya going south rather than most everything else.  It was sad that she decided to block me from all social media after her marriage.  Apparently, she never really cared about me whatsoever.  I am not the least bit surprised by that at all.

 

Both blogs also saw a lackluster number of comments to each.  Even though I limited the period for comments to 30 days after a post has been made, it still seems that I should have received more comments than I did.  Maybe it was because some people decided not to post rude comments as they knew they would be deleted anyway.

 

For all the bad things that my report stated, I am proud that the blogs continue to gain followers.  Granted the numbers are not huge yet, but I really would like to see the number close to 100 followers by this time next year.

 

Now onto the breakdown of each blog:

 

First we have the “Staples” blog.

 

The biggest topic of the year without a doubt was hacking.  I predicted the Staples hack about a year ago and by year’s end, Staples finally admitted that it was indeed hacked into.  However, their claim is that only about 115 stores were affected and a little over a million customers were affected.  I believe that Staples will eventually come clean with the real numbers as I believe that this was indeed a full company wide hack job.

 

I expect that hacking will continue to be a major topic in 2015 as companies will continue to do stupid things that will allow hackers to do their dirty duty.  With hacks such as the celebrity hacks and the Sony hack is only the beginning of something much bigger that will happen.  I really hate the idea of having to report this stuff as it just gets to be monotonous and just gets to be downright boring.

 

Besides the ongoing hacking scandals, I plan on discussing other topics as well.  My upcoming calendar includes (subject to change):

  • The continued decline of RadioShack.
  • The Night That Changed Everything.
  • org – Good Idea or Agenda driven.
  • Charity begins at home.

 

Along with these topics, I plan to continue my own story of my decline with the Staples Company.  After all, that was what this blog was originally set up as.  I don’t think I have actually strayed from my original goal, I just have taken many detours along the way and made several stops through this journey.  I am a long way from the end as if to say that there will actually be an end.

 

Now onto the “Rants” blog:

 

The major part of the blog this last year was dedicated to the continued decline of the Time Warner Cable service and how their so-called upgrades have caused more harm than good.

 

Certainly the political scene is scarred nationally and here in Maine by the onslaught of the republicans winning both the governorship again and taking control of the US Senate and the US House.

 

Probably the most popular topic of the year was my discussion of why I didn’t attend my high school reunion.  My belief is that some people can relate to what I am talking about and therefore I am continuing my story with a few more parts this year.

 

Television also was a topic of interest as well.  Some shows were complete failures while others have shined brightly.  Amongst my favorites are “Gotham”, the pre-Batman series and as I have mentioned before my absolute favorite show “Girl Meets World”.  This show blew me away with the Christmas episode reunion.  This is the way to do a reunion show and if you liked the older “Boy Meets World” series, the Christmas episode is a definite must-see.

 

I am less excited for the series “The Flash” as this show seems like it hasn’t completely broken away from the shadow of its birthmother of “Arrow”.  The crossover episodes were fun but the Flash may become a flash in the pan if the show doesn’t get more interesting.  They certainly have the villains from the comic books, but this show reminds me of the campy 1960’s Batman series.

 

Speaking of that series, it finally got its video release in 2014 in somewhat of grand style.  While this nearly $200 Blu-ray box set contains all 120 episodes and other special treats, it still is missing some episode content.  I still recommend this limited edition set despite its flaws.  A cheaper DVD box set also exists without all the extra products, but I still would ante for the better set while it is available.

 

So what is in store for 2015?  Here is a brief rundown of my possible topics:

 

  • The continuing story of why I didn’t attend my high school reunion.
  • TV Hits and Misses of the Season.
  • The biggest obituary of 2014 that was not reported.
  • Tag, Like, Share: A Dumb User’s Guide to Facebook failures.

 

Overall, 2014 saw its share of hatred against me.  From one person who wrote that I was a bad person and then stupidly liking that statement to the people who decided to unfriend me on Facebook and then not even having a logical reason why, this last year was a year of idiots showing their true colors.

 

I expect a better reception this year as things should get clearer in some aspects of my continuing drama and the drama of the rest of the world.

 

Speaking of getting clearer, next post will have my annual predictions as I once again bring out the crystal ball and look back on how I did last year and make new predictions for the year.  After that, the two blogs will hopefully separate into their own stories for most of the year.  I continue to plan on writing each blog on alternating weeks with the next post to be next week to both blogs.

 

Until next time, enjoy 2015.

 

 

 

 

2014 in review (The State of the Blog)

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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