Fandango’s Friday Flashback — April 3

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 3rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on April 3, 2010 on my old blog.

Best Informed Viewers Get Their News From Comedy Central

I was struck by a headline I ran across that read, “Daily Show/Colbert Viewers Most Knowledgeable.” Also of note is that the headline went on to say, “Fox News Viewers Rank Lowest.” What a shocker that is!

I am a fan of both Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report, In a previous post on this blog, I commented that these two shows are the funniest, most relevant, and, at the same time, most irreverent shows on TV. I’m apparently not alone in my assessment.

It seems that the faux news Daily Show and the faux conservative pundit Stephen Colbert, appearing nightly (Monday through Thursday) on Comedy Central at 11:00 and 11:30 p.m ET, respectively, have the most well-informed, knowledgeable viewers of all forms of media, including network news shows, cable news channels, newspapers, and magazines.8BD936A9-32E8-40B4-BFEE-C1091EFF9A12These findings came from a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center to gauge public knowledge of current affairs and how people get their information about events in the news.

The Pew survey showed that there is no clear connection between news formats and what audiences know. The survey found that “Well-informed audiences come from cable (Daily Show/Colbert Report, O’Reilly Factor), the internet (especially major newspaper websites), broadcast TV (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) and radio (NPR, Rush Limbaugh). The less informed audiences also frequent a mix of formats: broadcast television (network morning news shows, local news), cable (Fox News Channel), and the internet (online blogs where people discuss news events).”

Granted, this survey is three years old, but I don’t think things have changed all that much since April 2007. Oh wait, that’s probably not true. The Fox News channel’s audience has probably grown with the addition of such personalities as Glenn Beck and, most recently, Sarah Palin.

Isn’t that great? Now there are even more people who are ill-informed.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — March 27

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 27th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on March 27, 2011 on my old blog.

Step Away From That Bottle of Water

There is a war being waged by some environmentalist groups against bottled water. These environmentally conscious crusaders believe that our penchant in this country for buying and drinking water in plastic bottles is not only outrageously expensive (given that most of us can get water for free from the faucets on our kitchen sinks), it is also causing significant harm to our planet.

At least one bottled water company is trying to be more environmentally considerate. Poland Spring recently introduced its Eco-Shape® plastic water bottle. Poland Spring claims that its new bottle is “not only less impactful on the environment, it’s purposely designed to be easy to carry and hold.” I’m glad it was purposely designed to be easy to carry and hold, as opposed to having been accidentally or unintentionally designed that way.

But I digress. Poland Spring brags about its new Eco-Shape® bottle, noting that “it’s lighter, it requires less energy to make – resulting in a reduction of CO2 emissions.” It’s made, they say, with 30% less plastic, has a label that is one-third smaller, and is easier to crush for recycling. In addition, the bottle’s smaller cap results in less plastic than before, when it apparently had a larger cap.

All of this sounds great, doesn’t it? Here’s a company with a conscience. Here’s a company that is doing its part to help planet Earth. Here’s a company that has it in for children.

Say what?!?
3291886E-D840-4C35-B27C-E5D3BC4BA3FBHow, exactly, did I come to this outrageous conclusion? Simple. I carefully read the label on a Poland Spring’s environmentally conscious bottle. This one-third smaller label starts out, in very large letters, boasting “Smaller Cap = Less Plastic.” Yeah, that makes sense. The words “Be Green” also appear on the label. Good advice.

But then there is a section of the label that reads: “WARNING: Cap is a small part and poses a CHOKING HAZARD, particularly for children.” Uh oh. Now there’s a cause for concern, especially if you have children, know children, or are children.

Well, I still say kudos to the folks at Poland Spring. They are being proactive. They are not only doing positive things for the environment with their new eco-friendly bottle, they’re helping to address the global over-population crisis by causing children to suffer violent and painful choking deaths.

You know what they say, right? You can’t make an omelette if you don’t break a few eggs. Sorry kids.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — March 20

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 20th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on March 20, 2018.

Honor Code

8C500266-EEB4-46B5-9B31-4BF29D21C18CChris had no idea why he’d been summoned to the Dean of Students’ office. With some trepidation, Chris knocked at the dean’s door. “Enter,” he heard the dean say.

As Chris walked in, the dean removed his reading glasses, set them down on his desk, and looked at the nervous student. “Please have a seat, Mr. Atwater,” the dean said. Chris did as he was told.

The dean looked at Chris for a long moment. “Mr. Atwater,” he finally said. “You’re aware of this university’s honor code, are you not?” Chris nodded his head in acknowledgment. “And you, therefore, must know about the strict policy regarding plagiarism.” Once again Chris nodded his head.

The dean handed Chris his philosophy course term paper. Chris’ forehead started to bead up with perspiration. The dean then handed Chris another document. The title page had been removed, but the evidence of plagiarism was clear. Chris felt like he was about to pass out.

“Mr. Atwater, your term paper is identical — word for word identical — to this paper prepared by another student who took this same course taught by the same professor three years ago. How do you explain this, Mr. Atwater?”

Chris realized he was caught. “Sir, I admit that I hired a paper-writing service to write this paper for me. I know I shouldn’t have done it, but I have had some personal problems this semester and didn’t have time to get my paper written and submitted,” he confessed. “And the service offers guarantees against plagiarism.”

“Mr. Atwater,” the dean said quietly, “I suggest you seek a refund from the service. Or perhaps you can get them to give you a credit for the admissions paper you’ll need to submit to the next university you plan to attend, since your time at our august institution is over.”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “identical.”

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — March 13

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 13th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on March 13, 2013 in my old blog.

Beyond Any Reasonable Explanation

The question is “why does weird shit sometimes happen?” The answer is “sometimes weird shit just happens.”

Earlier this week I had this strange experience with my iPhone. I had received a letter from the gas company advising me that local law requires that residential gas meters must be changed every seven years and that ours was way overdue for an exchange. It’s still pretty cold in my neck of the woods and I didn’t want to risk having the gas company shut off our gas, so I called to schedule a meter swapping appointment.

I was given a window of 8 a.m. to noon the next day for the gas meter swapper (his official title, I think) to show up to swap the meter. Because I work from home and I wanted to be ready to let him in, I gave the person on the phone with whom I set up the appointment my cell phone number and asked that the gas meter swapper call me when he was on his way to my house.

Shortly after noon there was a knock at my door and standing before me was the gas meter swapper. “Hey, I thought you were going to call before you came over,” I said with some bit of annoyance in my voice.

“I did,” he responded, “but it went right to your voicemail.”

I would have sworn he was lying, but when I looked at my iPhone I noticed that, instead of showing 2-3 bars and the word “Verizon” in the upper left corner of the display, as it usually does, it read “Searching….”B48CBC12-155D-4A4F-A248-26AFEFE10C1AI tried to make an outgoing call, but when I pressed “Call” on the virtual keypad, nothing happened. Clearly, my cell phone was not working.

I called Verizon Wireless to see if maybe there had been an outage reported in our area, but they said there were no outages. After the gas meter swapper left, I called Verizon Wireless tech support and spoke to one of their techies. She had me run a bunch of diagnostics on the iPhone, reset everything back to factory settings, and try a couple of other tricks, all to no avail. Still no connection to the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network. Just this constant “Searching…” message.

Finally, the techie threw her hands up in frustration (or at least that’s the gesture I imagined she made) and said she’d FedEx a new iPhone and SIM card that I would receive the next day. She also said to plug my current iPhone into iTunes and back it up before activating the new one.

What a hassle, I thought. Now I’m going to have to reconfigure everything on a new iPhone to what my pre-“Searching…” settings were. But at least I’ll have a phone again, instead of a second iPod Touch, which is essentially what an iPhone is without the phone part.

Resigned to being without a cell phone for the next 24 hours, I was shocked when later that same afternoon, I started hearing pings and tones coming from the iPhone. I looked at the display and saw that I suddenly had four voice mail messages, one of which, it turned out, was from the unjustly maligned meter swapper.E1F7522E-EB73-4BF5-977E-6CDA304B2E1ALo and behold, the “Searching…” in the upper left corner of the screen was replaced by 3 bars and the word “Verizon.” My iPhone as a cell phone was back!

So there I was, caught on the horns of a dilemma. My “old” iPhone was once again able to access the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network as it was supposed to. But a brand new iPhone had already been overnighted to me and would arrive the next day. What to do? Should I keep my current iPhone, which was, once again, working fine? Or should I go ahead and activate the new one and return my barely six-month-old iPhone back to Verizon Wireless?

Of course I switched to the new phone because, well, it’s a new phone! Duh! It wasn’t quite as easy to activate the new iPhone as I had hoped; I once again needed to have a brief conversation with another Verizon Wireless techie as well as with someone in my company’s tech support area (due to certain company-mandated apps that enable the iPhone to work with my corporate email).

Sunspots and Chinese Hackers

I don’t know why my “old” iPhone was suddenly unable to connect to the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network that morning. I have no clue as to why it all of a sudden regained that network connection later the same day. Verizon Wireless still insists that there were no service outages.

The actual device…the iPhone that I ended up boxing up and sending back to Verizon Wireless…seemed to be functioning normally after the strange, brief outage. And so far, anyway, my new iPhone, after jumping through some activation hoops, seems to be working exactly as it is supposed to.

Maybe it was sunspots. Maybe the Chinese hacked my phone. Or maybe, just maybe, sometimes weird shit just happens.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — March 6

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 6th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on March 6, 2012 in my old blog.

Homeshoring

85BF6F18-78E8-4661-9477-E932A127BEE9I’ve been working from home since 2005. I love working from home. Not having to get up every day and commute into an office in order to get my job done is a wonderful thing. I consider myself fortunate that my role affords me the opportunity to work out of my house.

Current technologies, such as e-mail, the internet, virtual private networks (VPNs), web-based meetings, conference calling, instant messaging, and, of course, my ever-present BlackBerry, make working productively from virtually anywhere a snap.

Of course, in the world of business and commerce, it is necessary to have a name that is more formal and business-like than simply “working from home.”

Some companies refer to working from home as telecommuting. Other companies embrace business-speak terms for their home-based workers such as remote employee or virtual employee. Regardless of what they label it, as long as I can continue to work from home, telecommute, be remote, or be virtual, I’m good.

Last week my boss sent e-mail to his team, all of whom work out of their homes, with instructions to go to our company’s employee portal and complete the homeshoring application. Homeshoring? What the hell is that?

I’m familiar with the terms “offshoring,” which is sending jobs overseas to places like India, and “nearshoring,” which is sending jobs to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Mississippi.

I’ve even heard some companies use the term “rightshoring” as a way of explaining how they will provide resources, whether onshore, offshore, or nearshore, as needed to get the job done in the most cost effective and highest quality way. Some marketing executive probably got a big bonus check for coming up with that catchy buzzword.

So what is homeshoring? Quite simply, according to website netlingo.com, homeshoring is when ”an employee regularly works out of his or her home instead of the office. The term homeshoring is a derivative of the word offshoring, and involves the transfer, primarily of service industry jobs, to electronically-connected home-based employees, or essentially turning office jobs into work-at-home jobs.”

So even though I’ve been working from home for years, I now have to complete this damn homeshoring application. I also have to certify that my home office is ergonomically configured, which, for the most part, it is, and that my office equipment, both company-issued and personally supplied, meets the standards set my employer.

This all seems kind of silly to me, and, being the cynic that I am, I started wondering if this was a ploy by my employer to decline the homeshoring applications and require most employees who had been “virtual” to revert to being “physical.”

Fortunately, my boss, who also works from his home, assured me that the company is not trying to get its virtual employees to return to working at one of the company’s facilities. He explained that it’s all about accounting, expense control, and reporting.

Okay, whatever. Please excuse me while I complete my homeshoring application so that I continue to telecommute, as I’ve been doing since 2005.