Thursday, June 30, 2011

Google's Blogger Was Down, Now Back

Blogger, Google's blogging platform that it purchased in 2004, was down, but now it's back. It's the second time this year Blogger users, including this blogger, experienced wide-spread outages, and while Google has not, as of this writing, issued a statement, one Google Engineer named Jeremy did point the way for Blogger users to recover account access:

We've rolled back the change that caused issues you have observed, so you should be able to clear the cookies for and fix the problem. For help on clearing cookies please see:


Whatever the "change" was, it produced the most prolonged Blogger outage in recent memory. The night-long problem threatened to make Tumblr's recent outage problems not look so bad.

Fortunately, this blogger established a self-hosted Wordpress version of Zennie62 called, which allowed for the production of blogs, even as Blogger was down. Eventually, will become the blog of use around here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Obama, In Press Conference, Calls On Congress To Raise Debt Ceiling

There are two President Obamas: the one before Osama Bin Ladin was assassinated, and the one after Osama Bin Ladin was assassinated. The pre- Bin Ladin Obama seemed tentative and for the most part, not combative and more conciliatory.
 The post-Bin Ladin Obama is not tentative, combative, and conciliatory only when necessary. It was that President Obama who conducted the just-completed press conference, today.

It was that President Obama who said "We've got to get this done. They need to be here. I've been here. You stay here. Let's get it done."

And Obama was rather upset that he was accused he was not presenting "leadership." It was at that point, the President called on Congress to "get it done."

Or else.

Raising the debt ceiling is a necessity. If it's not done, the ratings of all U.S bonds will be downgraded. Interest rates will go up, and the already tight money supply will tighten even more, plunging the American economy into recession.

Stay tuned.

Google Social Network Attacks Facebook And Foursquare

Google wants your attention! Google Social Network is here!

In its never-ending quest to catch up with, rather than work with, Facebook, Google is rolling out its latest effort called Google +, or the Google Social Network.

This blogger is not a beta tester for Google +, but as one who's used Google accounts almost since gmail started, and was prepared to hate the very idea of a Google Social Network, after reading through the online presentation, I have to say, Google may be on to something here.

The main question is, is Google + compelling enough to want to use, and is that enough to supplant Facebook. The answer is yes, but no. Yes, because it combines features, and in a way fuses a Foursquare-like check-in system into its social network, but no, because it totally misses the design element that makes Facebook so popular.

What's cool about Facebook is it's simplicity - everything starts from your profile page. The Facebook news feed is kind of the "town central" for what your friends are up to.

So, in a way, it's like living in a neighborhood with your house as the profile, and the downtown park and mall as the place where you go and see what everyone's up to. When they come to your house, that's when they comment or "like" on something that appears on your profile.

It's that function that makes Facebook so very, there's that word again, compelling.

What's that word again about Google Social Network is its' design, using circles and colors to designate places and actions. But, and I can see this without a beta account, it doesn't have that neighborhood feeling that makes Facebook work.

And I don't think Facebook was deliberately designed to work in the way I described above, it just turned out that way. But if you think about it, that "way" is so organic, so much the way we work as people, it explains Facebook's success.

That Google didn't copy that aspect of Facebook's design is why it will not replace, or really put a dent into, Facebook's dominance.

The problem is that Google didn't think about how the "circles, hangouts, Instant Upload, Sparks, and Huddle," all fit together, or about what really binds people to each other. Google's system connects people but it does not let me see what people - my friends - are doing.

People like to know what other people are doing. Facebook's News feed allows that, even more than the status updates. Google should find some kind of way to incorporate Facebook's user experience into the Google Social Network, or else, it's just not going to catch on with many other than early responders.

UPDATE: PC World, which was invited to try Google + reports that the "Stream" is equal to the Facebook News Feed. From PC World's account, Google does copy Facebook's "feel" but I have to try it for myself to be sure. I'm still skeptical.

Stay tuned.

Ben Parr Is Wrong About Straight Guys And Dating In SF And LA

Happened to run across an infograph posted, but not made by, by Ben Parr, the Mashable Editor-At-Large, on December 27, 2010. It shows that San Francisco and Los Angeles have the largest ratio pools of single men versus single women. But the chart compelled Parr to blog a point of view that was provocative to say the least:

Title: If You’re a Straight Guy Living in LA or SF, the Dating Scene Isn’t in Your Favor

Body: if you’re a straight guy looking to find love, I suggest moving to Chicago or New York City.

Since Ben lives in the Bay Area, or at least did when he attended the San Francisco YouTube Community Roundtable in 2009, and still seems to be a San Francisco dweller, it's not hard to think maybe Parr was having a hard time himself (let's hope not), and used a map to share his pain.

Fear not, Ben, there's another approach to dating life in San Francisco. Love women! San Francisco and Los Angeles have, perhaps, the largest best assembly of smart single women outside of New York or Chicago. Take a look at Ashley, who I met at the BrickYard Bar and Grill in San Francisco on New Year's Day:

Plus, the Gay-friendly culture translates to many available, single, straight women looking for a single, available, straight man. If there's just one draw-back, it's that the society as a whole is transient - women are always moving.

But, if you're in the Tech industry, as Ben is, you're going to have to get away from Tech events and go to fund-raisers. San Francisco is known for non-profits and for fund-raisers for worthy causes. The non-profit game is not "the thing" in LA; it's entertainment. And that means premiers, parties, and hangs.

That's based on my experience.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

City Of Oakland's Brenda Franzel Comes To Council to Save Her Job

If anyone had a doubt that the City of Oakland was in financial trouble, one look at tonight's Oakland City Council meeting should change their mind.

Watching via live stream from Georgia, this blogger has never seen so many Oakland workers come before the City and beg to have their jobs maintained. And these are good, long-serving, proud Oakland workers, like Brenda Franzel.

Really sad.  

Brenda Franzel,a revenue officer with the City of Oakland, just took the unusual step of coming to the Oakland City Council tonight and having her daughter speak before the Council first, and then and asking for "justice."

This as the Oakland City Council considers various budget options placed before it.

"I refused to participate in the slurs about who brings in revenue for the City, and by that, I mean money," Franzel said. "I blame the culture in which we serve for even considering cutting people who raise revenue for the city. It creates a hostile environment that makes it difficult to get our work done."

Franzel says that the "revenue division has spent five years working as a team, not against each other." She then completed her speech by offering that the "old revenue division understand the value of work that each section provides. I ask for the staff, please reconsider laying off staff in the revenue division."


Jeff Levine "These are difficult and painful concessions for those of us who have been dealing with 10 percent pay cuts." He says it's now time for the City Council to pass a budget that's fair for Oakland.

The Oakland City Council is in session as this is written. See it live here: Oakland City Council Live Feed.

Oakland City and Unions Agree, Oakland Greens Fume Over Budget

Just got an interesting email from Don Macleay, last year's Oakland Mayoral Candidate, who is urging Oaklanders to come to Tuesday night's Oakland City Council Meeting. But before we get to his, and the Oakland Greens, issues, a comment.

The City of Oakland must agree on a budget plan by July 1st, and that day is this Friday. There has been a lot of focus on and discussion over a process that, long ago, this blogger knew was insular, and because the public doesn't have all of the past budget information, and because the arguments about the budget are within the margins and not about how to extend the margins.

What do I mean by extend the margins?

One problem is that of each property tax dollar collected, the City of Oakland gets to keep just 26 percent of it.

The other problem is much of Oakland's revenue-producing land is controlled by the Redevelopment Agency, which is a good thing, because that's the only way Oakland itself can collect 100 percent of the taxes the city produces. The final problem is that overall, Oakland's property tax revenue, like that for the state, has dropped like a rock, and the question not answered to this point is, how much more will it fall?

Well, before I go to far there, let's look at what Don Macleay sent over. This is the email he sent, re-posted with his permission: to GreenNews

show details 1:28 AM (12 hours ago)

It is very hard to sum up how bad the proposed budget is and how limited and short term the council's counter proposals are in an email and still expect anyone to read it.
On the other hand, if ever there was a time to join the public at an Oakland City Council meeting, it would be this Tuesday evening. Please take a moment to stand up and be counted at this time.
Let council know that you do not appreciate their pressure tactics, the out of public eye debate and the budget crisis overall. It is also clear that we need to change the budget process and reform the whole account ledger. Council should use the short reprieve that their amended budgets offer us to call a budget convention and bring a new plan to the voters for approval before this becomes a crisis again.
I will try to at least sum up the last few episodes of this soap opera.
Our mayor proposed a budget two months ago that had three speeds:
A - With the money we got and without concessions from the unions
B - with concessions from the unions
C - with concessions from the unions and a parcel tax
For whatever reason, she included in this proposed budget, version A, the near total shutdown ofour library system. Some say that was to pressure the unions for concessions, other say it was to pressure the voters for a parcel tax and I say it was poor leadership if either is true. Even if neither is true it is not great leadership.

Option A will open up as a pdf file and can be accessed at this link:

For the same two months our City Council has not been forthcoming about their counter proposals.

The few sessions they held in public there were no amendments proposed or debated on in public by them. The public organized a save the libraries, save the film office, save whatever campaign and people spoke out against the cuts.

When asked about why they were not coming up with something else we were told that the Brown Act kept them from working in private with more than 4 of them at once. Nothing about the Brown Act keeps them from debating the budget in public in open session, but no version of that ever happened.

Now we have a 4 member, a 3 member and a 1 council member counter-proposals made public only a few days before the final deadline to vote in a new budget.

Counter proposals are:

1) Reid-Brooks-Brunner
2) Schaaf-Kaplan-Nadel-Kernighan
3) De La Fuente

All three can be accessed at this link (recommend copy - paste):

The Council convenes in open session at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 28, 2011, at City Hall Council Chambers.

The schedule details can be found here:|&Search

If necessary, a second meeting will convene at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, June 30, 2011, at City Hall Council Chambers.

To sign up for a speaker's card see

A budget must be passed by the 30th.

Writing for myself, but with the agreement of many other Oakland Greens, I have to say that all the big issues of our local government's endless budget instability have not been fixed in any way shape or form. We need to raise more taxes and raise those taxes in a more simple and fair way.

There is nothing in this budget to look at the Port as a revenue contributor, deal with the crazy taxes and fines that are hurting local employment, counterbalance the distortions that Prop 13 give us in the real estate market and so on. In the next Council Elections we should talk more about this by putting up challengers to the incumbents willing to change the way we collect taxes.

On the spending side we are not finding a balance between real estate development, police and fire and everything else. The pension formulas do not work and council has kicked that can down the road in a way that will both cost a lot and still not offer most of our public employees a secure retirement income. (that is a lose-lose deal).

Our hands are tied every which way with gimmicks inside the different important propositions we have voted. We have Prop Y but still no commitment
to the core community policing and we have Prop Q, but the Mayor can still offer to shut it down and close 14 out of 18 libraries.

Both of those propositions have some triggers in them and obligations in them that do not make any sense, except for keeping political friends. One could go on. We Greens should make these points come next election time. A progressive agenda for Oakland is one that will give us stable reliable government with stable reliable funding.

Let's keep in mind that the Redevelopment Budget is larger than our General Fund. Some Redevelopment funds have been spent to prop up the general fund in some pretty contrived manners only a lawyer could love. The Redevelopment Funds cause the state to “backfill” the county because it does not have enough income to meet the School Board allocations.

These Redevelopment Funds are somehow so sacrosanct that one is not allowed to question funding speculative real-estate projects to local developers at a time when we cannot keep all our libraries open or our community policing staffed. Because we do nothing to advocate a plan B, we may just lose Redevelopment Funds without much ado as a dictate of the State Budget. I do not know if we have a balanced City Budget if that happens.

But remember that City Council is also the Redevelopment Committee without a mayor or any other check, balance or serious oversight. So we have a council that has this kind of power on the side and just accepts the Redevelopment Rules whether they are good for Oakland or not.

If the Redevelopment Committee still exists by next election, we should consider what we really want to do with that money and how we want it governed and monitored.

A real council seat candidate debate will have the Redevelopment Committee affairs as major issues. We also have a council that just accepts some of the bad deals that the state and county hand down to us without a squeak of protest. By this I mean the way sales taxes are collected and distributed for an income example.

For an unfunded mandate example we have the state prison and parole systems which are either the worst in the nation or second worst. That system returns
offenders into our community without any reform and little help to integrate. We could probably save money and misery by reopening our own city jail and offering to keep these offenders here.

One can go on a long time on this subject and next election we plan to bring it up in a big way. In many countries the budget is what defines the government; lose a budge vote, lose the government.

How would this budget define us? Well, we love our police, fire and land developers a lot and we put our parks, libraries and public spaces on the low priority side of things.

A budget crisis like this one would cause other governments to resign.

Ours probably should, but I don't think that they will.

So we will have to vote them out by voting something better in.

Don Macleay

Oakland Green Party

Don also included this post from Sanjiv Handa, dated June 24, 2011:

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 10:25 pm
Subject: Budget Proposals Restore Libraries and NSCs
FYI from Sanjiv Handa, East Bay News Service

There was quite a bit of excitement Friday, when City Council members finally released three separate budget proposals. They were one day too late for the normal agenda process, forcing the City Clerk's staff to stay late on Friday to make the proposals available online.

The clerk's staff often must stay until 2 a.m. or later Thursday night into Friday morning to finish agenda preparations, and then return to work as early as 8 a.m. the next morning to complete agenda distribution by noon.

City Hall was a ghost town by 4 p.m., but the clerk's staff was not alone. Desley Brooks, Libby Schaaf, Mayor Jean Quan, and half a dozen legislative aides were still working away past 6 p.m.

Council members had already sent proposals into cyberspace before they were delivered to the city clerk at 1:17 and 1:18 p.m.

There were two "gangs of four" Council members developing budgets in private. Ultimately, Ignacio De La Fuente went out on his own. Larry Reid, Desley Brooks, and Jane Brunner issued a joint proposal. Libby Schaaf, Rebecca Kaplan, Nancy Nadel, and Pat Kernighan delivered a different plan..

In essence, all three proposals accept the bulk of Quan's $887 million plan ($387 million general fund; about $500 million in other funds, give or take a few million, depending on whom you believe).

There will be a Council meeting Tuesday, June 28, 5:30 p.m. to try and hammer out a consensus. If unsuccessful, another meeting has already been scheduled for Thursday, June 30, @ 5:30 p.m.

Labor negotiations are the biggest question mark. Closed sessions of the City Council will be held 9 a.m. to Noon on Tuesday, June 28, and again on Thursday, June 30, at Noon.

A deal has been reached with the firefighters union that has been pegged at saving the city $3.5 to $9 million a year, depending on what numbers you accept. Quan's proposal to close four fire stations has been rejected. However, the fire union has agreed to rotating closures of two fire stations each day for the next two years. Minimum staffing levels of four firefighters per fire truck and three per engine (the big hook-and-ladder) would stay in place until June 30, 2017.

All proposals call for keeping all branch libraries open. The Schaaf, et al, version even restores funding to keep the Main Library open between Christmas and New Year's.

All proposals save the jobs of nine Neighborhood Services Coordinators. However, they call for elimination of the job held by Claudia Albano, head of the division.

All proposals reject Quan's dismissal of Parking Director Noel Pinto and breaking up the division.

Council members also want to eliminate the communications director for the City Attorney's Office, held by Alex Katz.

The Film Office would be retained, along with Amy Zins' job, which would be transferred to redevelopment. But her assistant's position would be eliminated.

Recent Dove, Lotte Choco Caramel With Mango Ads, Show Racist Attacks On Black Women

For all of the claims of a more advanced, enlightened, diverse, and color-blind society, we have good-old, mainstream corporate advertising to thank for reminding us that old-fashioned racism is alive and well.

Sadly, Dove and Lotte Choco Caramel With Mango are the most recent examples, and Dove - which was the champion, I thought, of the normal woman, regardless of color - should be particularly ashamed.

What Dove did was authorize the production of an ad that reads "before" on the left, and "after" on the right, with an obviously black woman posing on the "before" side, and an obviously "white" woman on the "after" side.

Who's in the middle? A woman who's skin color is between the two extremes.

The photo and the words imply that if you use Dove in the shower, you will turn white.

There's no other way to read that ad.

To this time period, Dove is still using the ad and it appears on the website for Dove Close Up, which you can see here.

What's equally disturbing is that the mainstream media, including columnists, have ignored the Dove issue, leaving bloggers to comment, and the noise hasn't been very loud at all.

But the ad is an obvious attack on black women, and it comes on the heels of a Psychology Today article that was an obvious, and down right sick, attack on black women.

And as if that weren't enough, a brand I never heard of called Lotte Choco Caramel With Mango, out of India, ran an ad photo that look like, well, Hamilton Nolan of Gawker put it pretty well...

In this ad out of India (click to enlarge) for Lotte Choco Caramel With Mango Inside, the choco-caramel-colored pregnant maid represents the Choco Caramel With Mango Inside. The happily leering mango is pleased that his mango sperm has been "inside" the choco caramel, and will be again soon, by the looks of it. Probably via rape. This scenario makes people want to purchase the candy in question.

I don't know what's going on, but this is one issue news media editors should take up their opinion columns on, and get to work. The ultimate shame is this strategy of attention-getting by racism is allowed to go without significant attack.

Why not sue Dove and Lotte Choco Caramel With Mango for defamation, and throw in Psychology Today to make the "burn the fields" legal strategy complete?

It's clear the fields do need to be burned.

Something must be done to stop this crap.
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Katy Perry Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) Music Video - John Hughes, Yes; 80s, No

The video for Katy Perry's Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) is reported to be an “80s” theme, but really there are several elements that were not from the 80s, but the 21st Century.

It's very much one tribute to the John Hughes movie Pretty In Pink, starring Molly Ringwald and members of The Brat Pack. All of whom are about the same age as this blogger. 

The video starts with Katy using a laptop and getting on the internet to check her profile page - that's so not 80s.  In the 80s, we didn't have laptops and the Internet.   We had big, heavy clunky personal computers, that cost thousands of dollars to buy.  My Apple Macintoch II cost over $7,000 back in 1989. 

Internet access?   That wasn't even in the conversation. 

Katy Perry also uses the “rock on” symbol. The "rock on" symbol is not at all 80s, and it's used far more in the late 90s and really started in wide use in the 2000s. 

 The high school setting is as much today as the 80s.  For it to be an 80s video, it needed scenes of boys and girls dancing together, and wearing watches.  In the video, boys and girls are largely separate and dance in space - that's not an 80s habit.  There's just one scene where a boy and girl dance together.

If the video reflected the 80s, it would have been as much in the style of Dick Clark's American Bandstand or Don Cornelius Soul Train, as anything else.  The part where the dancers hop up and down  and watch while Katy Perry is dancing and the other cast members dance in the middle should have been done in the form of a "Soul Train" line - that's very 80s. 

But with all that, one thing's for sure: Katy Perry's legs are timeless.

Stay tuned. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Oakland Mayor's Office Must Clear-Up Its Communications Process

This blog post comes as an advisory to the Oakland Mayor's Office, and it's done not for malicious intent, but to bring a stop to a growing problem that's reared its head twice in five days.

To cut to the chase, the Oakland Mayor's Office needs to determine what it's going to sent out in a communication to this blogger, and then make sure that message is consistently delivered, and without potential for misunderstanding, or appearance of subterfuge.

First, I must take time to thank the Oakland Mayor's Office under Jean Quan for at least trying to communicate with the public - it's a far cry from the previous administration. But, Mayor Quan's approach still appears as if it's confused and all too reactive to what's written in the press, well, OK, what's blogged by this blogger.

After trying to deal with this behind the scenes, I've just plain had it.

The first episode started when I received an email from Susan Piper, Mayor Quan's Special Assistant, who played a key role in Quan's successful candidacy. I like Susan, so this doesn't come from a point of dislike, but one of extreme disappointment, so deep that this blog post is the best, last resort.

It appears Piper, the Mayor herself, and the City of Oakland's Communications Office are on a different page at times. Take the issue of the announcement that the City was prepared to make former San Jose Deputy City Manager Deanna Santana, City Administrator.

I received two emails on this subject: one from the City of Oakland's Communications Office, the other from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, via her newsletter.

Both emails had misinformation that P. Lamont Ewell was Oakland's City Manager, rather than Assistant City Manager, thus effectively removing former Oakland City Manager Craig Kocian from the city's history. The first email contained a press release attached and dated June 21st which called Ewell "Oakland City Manager."

Then, the second email, which contained Quan's Newsletter, had not just the same reference to Ewell as Oakland's City Manager in 1995 (when it was Kocian) but also called Deanna Santana the Deputy Mayor of San Jose.

I called out the Mayor's Office for the mistake and reminded anyone, regardless of whether they were paying attention, that Kocian was City Manager. (Momentary aside here: I blog to strategically seed the Internet for revenue gain, message control and real estate development, not to gain attention. Only a lobotomized knave would think other wise.)

Piper contacted me via email demanding to know where I got the information that the Mayor's Office said Ewell was City Manager in 1995. I sent the evidence to Piper along with a request for a bottle of wine. Piper admitted I was correct, but did not apologize for the error, just told me to have a virtual glass of wine.

That was on Thursday, and I was willing to overlook that issue. After all, I made my point and there's now a clear Internet record to counter all of the incorrect press content created because of the Mayor's Office's mistake. (Well, I hope it was a mistake. Again, to communicate to the media that one person was City Manager, when someone else really was, is a pretty big error to make.)

So, I was done with it, it was behind the scenes, and in the past. Fine.

But this week, it happened again - and it's a young week. Today's Tuesday.

On Monday, I made a blog post of two events the Mayor was set to attend this week, and did so completely based on another press release I was sent. The blog post called "Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Announces Plans For Week," came from a note called "News from: The Office of Mayor Jean Quan" and was in no way communicated to me as a non-public document with privileged information.

So, I shared it with the public. After all it was called "news," right?

Piper pipes up with an email that was just plain, down-right, ill-advised. She wrote that "Zenie- the About Oakland is not a "public" document. It is a media advisory for the press so that they know where they can catch up with the Mayor. We would appreciate it if you would not repost the content to your blog.

My email reply consisted of one word:


After this, I've had enough. Alex Katz, who served as former Oakland City Attorney John Russo's press aide, has never in something like three years, made that mistake. Any press contact knows that as the representative of a high profile elected official, you don't send an email out to a blogger regarding events the official's expected to attend and think the blogger's not going to post the information or mention it.

That's...Well, a number of choice words I'm not going to print.

The Oakland Mayor's Office under Jean Quan has to stop playing games. They're bothered by the idea that, unlike the standard press, they can't control me (Which has always been Oakland's problem with me, come to think of it.)

During the election, Quan wanted to know who my boss was and who gave me assignments. She couldn't wrap it around her mind that I was self-motivated. And now, I see what the game is from them: try and say that I'm consistently making errors, by issuing denials of my reporting of what they sent out.

That's a dangerous game to play if the Mayor's Office is not even reporting the right information to start with. I hope the Mayor's Office can see now, that it won't work.

But let's say they're not doing that. Let's say that Quan doesn't want information on, as Piper put it, her "whereabouts" out there for this week?

Given that there were just two items noted, the City Team Ministries Breakfast of Champions (9-11 am Tuesday) and the Ribbon Cutting of the new East Oakland Sports Center, maybe Mayor Quan doesn't want to go to one of them for some reason?


Well, either way it's spun, it doesn't look good at all.

Wow. It gets deeper.

Well, either way it's spun, it doesn't look good at all. After all, the Mayor has more to do than just those two events.

What To Do?

The best solution is, first, to craft a full media strategy that starts with one word: reputation. And it should consistently as the question "Is what I'm sending out something that I will not have to recall?" And care should be taken to be as open with information and its dissemination as possible.

I work with some of the most powerful communications people in Hollywood and in the Tech Industry. The people I know would never make a mistake like that; the Oakland Mayor's Office should study how they operate.

Stay tuned.

Rod Blagojevich Verdict - President Obama Must Be Smiling

In the last video on the subject of former Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich, I said he was lucky to get away on no charge, but one charge; this time, the Government got Govt. Blagojevich on 17 counts, and he's reportedly stunned.

If Blagojevich is shocked, he has a weird sense of history. There are tapes of the Governor openly trying to sell the Senate seat that was once held by now - President Barack Obama, saying that it's "fuckin" golden. Moreover, then-Governor Blagojevich was all-but openly hostle to the former Illinois Senator, and just as that person, Mr. Obama. Barack. Was taking his place as the most powerful representative of the free World.

Blagojevich should have said "Whatever you want me to do, Mr. President, I'll do it," and left it at that.

Instead, perhaps because he didn't have respect for Obama because he was familiar with him. Or maybe that Blagojevich wasn't used to being in a position below, not at, a politician who happened to be black. Whatever the reason, Blagojevich pissed off President Obama, and set in motion the wheels of justice that find him where he's at now: starring at doing some jail time.

Blagojevich was lucky last year. Not this time.

Obama got him. And while it's not on the level of Osama Bin Laden, for Barack Obama, it constitutes the ultimate pay back.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Stay tuned.

British PM Cameron's Joke Brings Down House Of Commons

In this video posted today at itNews on YouTube, British Prime Minister David Cameron issues a joke about it being his duty to "give pleasure" to a constituent who was pleased at England would not get involved in the bailout of Greece. It's a hilarious blast that brought the "house" down - literally.

It's good to see a PM with a sense of humor. Remains to be seen how England't decision, or his joke, will impact its relationship with Greece.

Still, even if England and other nations took action, the Bank of England governor warned that it would not stop the European Debt Crisis.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Black Holes of Healthcare, Lemonade,...And My Plan!

HI Your Fit Day Friends:

I hope you're all enjoying the spring weather. Here in the Bay Area we've had some pretty picture-perfect days. And the days are still getting longer.

Hey! You know what that means, don't you? More daylight hours... for... ex-er-cising! So no excuses; at least for the next 6 months, anyway.

Go enjoy the great outdoors and make fitness fun. Grab your kids-or someone else's-and Go Go Go. Visit your National parks, (hurry, while you still time, since many are set to close in September). Play on the swing-sets. Bike the trails, and run in them thar hills!!

Hey! Speaking of running...that's something I won't be able to do for a while, and I wanted to give you an update on your trainer's life.

My Hippy News

In my Part I of Key to Pain Free I mentioned seeing a second surgeon after I was 'misdiagnosed' by the first. The first surgeon, let's call him Dr. Compassion (not!), advised Motrin daily; told me to come back in six months if I was still in pain; and, without even looking at an X ray or MRI, told me I was too young for any type of surgery and to come back when I was closer to age 60, and sent me packing.

Huh? I see. At my HMO it's obviously all about patient care!

Let me give you a brief synopsis of our email conversations:

Dr. Compassion: (no x-ray to look at, but moves my leg around, taking all of 1 minute) "Yup, just as I thought, you have arthritis."

Debby: "Gee doc, everyone my age and even younger has a little bit of arthritis. I'm in a lot of pain. It came on suddenly. I had a weight training injury in June of 2010, I train a lot. I really think we should think about stress fracture of hip and/or possible labral tear, seeing that I have been quite an avid runner all my life, as well as a myriad of other sports."

Dr. C.: "Nope. Even I have it.(he's sitting back down at his computer now) It's arthritis. Do you get pain in here?" He says, talking to his computer screen and pointing to his lower back. I'm assuming the statement is directed towards me, but with no eye contact it's kind of hard to tell. He keeps scrolling back and forth, up and down looking for something, obviously not my X-ray. I just keep wondering... 'what's so much more important than his live patient in front of him?'

Debby: "Huh? No, I don't. It' in my hip, the top of my butt. I can't squat right", as I get up off the table and hobble two steps over to the door, the only free space in the room.

"Look, watch me squat; look at my right leg, how it doesn't rotate out like the left. It's stuck. This makes it hard to work. And look at my hips. I'm like a tea kettle when poured, off kilter. Something isn't right. I can feel it, look Dr. _...", I'm pleading. He turns his head around for a split second as I'm squatting, then quickly turns back to the computer screen. What on earth is on that screen? What is so much more interesting to evaluate than his live deformed patient, standing sqautting right in front of him?

Dr. C.: "Yah, arthritis, like I said. That happens."


Debby: "Listen, I know my body and something is going on here more than a little arthritis. I need this fixed. I need to be able to do my job, teach my boot camp style class that I just licensed, and build out my new fitness website with my workout videos for online training. I need to be able to move without pain, be know, be in good form for presenting great content to my viewers, who depend on me for their workouts. This is my job."

Dr. C.: "Well, my advice to you is to change your lifestyle. You can stand on the sidelines like the football coaches who yell at the players, and do just like they do. And I'm not going to give you surgery so you can do some You Tube videos and teach a 'boot camp'. My suggestion is to start thinking about your lifestyle and change it. Do yoga, swim, walk. Now, go home, take Motrin. Then, stretch it when you don't feel pain, and keep stretching farther and farther, and maybe some of that flexibility will come back."

Huh? Did he just tell me what I think he did? Stretching is his answer? Stand around and yell? Don't they have a reality show for that?

Debby: "Listen Dr. C. I've been in the fitness industry my entire life. I'm young, strong and extremely athletic. I have many more years. I'm not here to talk about career changes. I'm here to rule out the possibility of a stress fracture or labral tear that could be casuing this malfunctioning hip. [OK?] I need resolution. And even if I were to take Motrin-which I will not-how long am I supposed to take it for? What's your plan? Do you even have a plan?"

Do HMO's have a plan for patients anyway, or is all the bottom line for the HMO? This is NOT a trick question.

Dr. C.: "I would say come back in six months. And if it's still the same or worse then we can do an MRI, maybe. But I want to see the X-ray first. And if it's arthritis, like I'm sure it is, then we wouldn't fix a labral tear anyway."

Debby: "Well, I don't want to take Motrin indefinitely if you have no game plan, and you won't give me an MRI. That's ridiculous. I need to know NOW what this is. And if the X-ray doesn't show a stress fracture then I want an MRI; I am entitled to one."

Dr. C.: "Get the X-ray. I'm sure I am right. Oh, and don't bother making another appointment. You can just email me and we can discuss your options online. Save your co-pay . Now, I have to get going I'm late."

And he slid out the door trying to make a getaway.

Late? I waited for over an hour, he spends 15 minutes with me, max, and he's late? This is my hip.This is my life. 'I'm in pain here Doc', I was screaming inside.(I had just started with M.A.T. again)

I shoved all my stuff into my backpack, slung it over my shoulder, half open, and I rushed after him down the hall.

Debby: "Wait, what do you mean I can just email you? What about patient/doctor relationships? Why are you so concerned with my co-pay?" And he was through.

In the big picture, when you want a resolution, that co-pay is insignificant. And emailing your provider at my HMO only allows 1000 characters per email. Now, assuming you've been reading my blogs that's hardly a conversation for this blogger.

I want one-to-one interaction; I'm entitled to one-to-one interaction with my provider; And, hey! I pay my HMO membership!

Well, I didn't wait for him to email me, nor did I set up that one to one with him. I high tailed it online to my former shoulder surgeon, and in under 1000 characters she was able to find me a wonderful, compassionate, caring female orthopedic surgeon who happened to be a competitive runner, skier, swimmer herself, and was privy to my pleas for help. Let's call her Dr. Yours Truly Compassionate.

But I wasn't going to see Dr. Yours Truly until I made sure I had my MRI. And getting that was like finding water on Mars.

The Expansion Of Black Holes

Sometimes, trying to get through the HMO system is like falling into a black hole. And once you get stuck in their vortex you have to be pretty strong to pull yourself out to get something done, and in a timely manner.

Well, since I was stuck in the HMO vortex, for now, I had to resort to their emailing system. And since I could only write 1000 characters at a time, I was usually cut off mid sentence, even half word. So it took me quite a few emails to finally get through to that first doc and get my MRI.

Here's how that conversation went:

Debby: "O.K. Dr.C., so you say I have moderate arthritis. But I am entitled to an MRI, and I'm entitled to a second opinion. And I'd like to have the MRI first. I need to see exactly what is going on inside my body so I can move forward, make a plan, and visualize the healing and get on with the process."

Doc: "Like I said, take the Motrin and if that doesn't work then we can go in a different direction. There is nothing you can do about the arthritis. Change your lifestyle. You may have to give up some things"

Debby: " I'm telling you, something is wrong with the structure of my body. I can tell. And I can't move forward if I don't know what's wrong. I can't start my group exercise camps. At least if I have an MRI we can rule out what it's not. I use my body to make my income. People are depending on me to provide workouts on my website. I depend on my body like you do on your hands for surgery. Please, I want my MRI."

Am I actually begging my HMO?!

Doc: " I am 100% sure that it is only arthritis as we see it in the X-ray. And it's moderate arthritis at that. You are not a candidate for surgery with moderate arthritis. There is no reason for an MRI. "

Debby: "Listen, nobody is 100% sure unless they are God!. Just please order the MRI. Look at it this way, if there is nothing in the MRI then you can pat yourself on the back, and you were right. But if something else shows up then we will all be happy, and we can move forward and fix the problem. But I can't wait 6 months to find out. And you should not make me wait six months. Well, if you don't order the MRI now, then I might have to hold my HMO accountable for anything that happens to my body from the day that I saw you."

You've Got Mail

Man getting mail
Almost as slow as Snail Mail

Well, the next day I had, in my HMO Patient Inbox, a referral to the NMRI department. (The N stands for Nuclear, by the way). I finally got my MRI. Then I had a second opinion from the compassionate female orthopedist. Just for the record I'll rate her a 10 on the scale of 1-5!. Well, that was the visit where the Dr. yours Truly read the MRI.

And folks, it doesn't look good. I'd include the actual MRI but it's a bit too graphic for this G-rated blog. But here's what the X-ray looked like:

DebbyK hip arthrogram
What do YOU see?

Cool, Huh?

Now, if you're like me you have no idea what you're looking at.

What's not so cool is that I don't have many options, and not a lot of time to decide, given my age and progression of the osteoarthritis. and the pain and lack freedom it causes me.


  1. Do nothing and become a cripple
  2. Learn how to hop on one leg. Great for training but not very convenient in the real world day to day existence.
  3. Get the top of my femur chopped off and replaced with ceramic total hip replacement, THR, which is great for the avid golfer but not the active multi sport fitness gu-ress and trainer like moi.
  4. Go with the new innovative technology of hip resurfacing,HR, which saves most of your bone, the head of your femur and allows for full activities after a year of rehab (Weight training, running, skiing, martial arts, surfing, splits, and all other sports).I can basically do everything except skydiving. Note to self: Set up sky dive session before surgery.

What would you do? This is NOT another trick question.:)

It's kind of a no brainer, wouldn't ya think?

Although the HR is a more complicated, it saves most of the bone so there is more to work with in case of a revision down the road (ie. chop off the head of my femur, lots of thigh bone, and replace it with total hip). However, if the HR is done with precision, and by the right surgeon, who has logged 1000's of procedures, and uses the correct prosthesis best suited for women, especially on small framed women such as your princess of fitness here, the chance for the best possible outcome is optimal.

Just My Luck

Well, not only did my HMO 'mis diagnose' me as having just some arthritis, they didn't even notice in the MRI that I had congenital hip displasia-or they forgot to tell me-which of course changes the playing field when considering what device to place in my hip, not to mention the experience of the surgeon placing it.

So before even consulting with a possible surgeon-who is NO. 3 below-I logged about 60 hours online researching procedures, prostheses, and the top surgeons around the world who had performed thousands of hip resurfacing, with a high percentage of them on female patients like me.

And when I finally talked to Surgeon No. 3 , I came prepared with a file busting at the seems with documentation on the pros and cons of the two most commonly used devices: the BHR and the Conserve Plus. The research for the Conserve Plus shows that it is better suited for small women with hip displasia cases; it comes in many size increments; and there is less potential for rubbing and leaking ions.

The research shows that the BHR is suited for larger men; or women who are 5ft 8 inches and heavy boned. I am 5ft, 6 inches, if that.

And I am small boned. The BHR is large and bulky and does not have as many of the smaller sized options suited for women my size.

There is also documentation showing a higher number of cases of ions being created when the particular metals that are used in the manufacturing of the BHR ball and socket are rubbed together. These ions would leak into my bloodstream. They can never be cleared.

My life's work is about keeping the body toxin free and creating a life free of disease for others as well as myself; not creating a potential breeding ground for cancer, or...whatever else.

Compared to the Conserve Plus device, the BHR has also been documented to show more groin pain after full recovery from surgery, limiting activities. The point of the hip resurfacing is to restore my lifestyle back to a fully active one... pain free!.

These potential problems, as well as ions streaming through my body, is not my idea of fixing the problem.

And based on a report written by Dr. Koen De Smet, who is one of the top-five leading hip resurfacing surgeons in the world, (and speaking with him through extensive emails, where, by the way, I was allowed as many characters as I could possibly write), I am NOT a candidate for the BHR.

Guess what folks?

My HMO only uses the BHR.


I saw three doctors. The first told me to go home. The second told me I had to have surgery, but did not perform that particular type. The third looked at my X ray, told me I hip resurfacing was difficult on women, that he had not done manywomen out of his 300 surgeries, and after looking at my MRI forgot to mention I had a congenital hip displasia. On top of that, even though I had shown him the report comparing the two devices and the how the Conserve Plus had a better track record for women he could only use the BHR.

It's quite obvious that it's not in the best interest of my only right hip, and my future as a fitness professional, to use my HMO's one option, or even their surgeons.

What would you do?

Make Lemons out of Lemonade

Well, that's what Dr. Koen De Smet, the surgeon who wrote the comparison report, and the doctor who I have picked to do my surgery, can apparently do. Make the lemons whole again. Kind of like putting Humpty back together again!

Who doesn't like Lemonade?!

As for me, I'll stick to making lemonade out of lemons and take this as an opportunity to find a silver lining.

I have spent thirty plus years of honing my body and mind and, well... I was born with my spirit! So now, I must take on another great challenge in this life of mine. (If you know me personally you know the others).

But I think of it like this: I will take it on like any other challenging leg day sat the gym; attack it with a plan and put in max effort.

And while I am still fairly mobile and can control the pain I'll prepare for the battle and have the best positive experience that I can doing it.

Yup! You heard me right. Stay positive. Look towards the future. Make lemonade. And here's how...

The Plan

Anyone going into battle has to have a plan. And this woman warrior is no different. So from May until September's surgery I will work on getting into the best PREHAB shape of my life, given the limitations with my hip and the pain, of course.

Since I'm a girl who likes to lift heavy objects with my legs, and since that is no longer an option I am learning new methods of training for my lower body.

(And NOTE to all the ladies out there: lifting weights does help keep body fat off your body).

I am also finding alternatives to running too. Plus, this will be a good time to explore other new ways to keep my body and mind strong and centered.

Eating healthy whole foods and maintaining my 23 years of an unprocessed and sugar free diet to fuel my body is a no brainer!

The Team

Back to the lemonade!

I decided to compile a team of experts who could help me get into the best shape of my life pre surgery, as well as post rehab conditioning.

And here's where the new experiences come into play!

It's obvious that I am limited in my mobility now, and I will not be able to go to the gym right after surgery. But it's paramount that I be able to stay in shape and do progressive athletic prehab and rehab. So setting up a system that I can use at home, or even in my backyard, or anywhere for that matter, is really important.

So to date, with the help from sponsorships by TRX,

TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack
TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack

Kangoo Jumps
Kangoo Jumps

and Kangoojumps, as well as pre and post rehab conditioning programs from Josh Henkin of Ultimate Sandbag Systems, and Ed Le Cara of Sports Plus, I'll be ready for battle.

What You Get!

Remember, this is a team effort and you are part of it. If I don't win, you don't win. So, I will be chronicling my experience through this blog and You Tube channel Your Fit Day , pre and post surgery. All of the workouts I do with the Ninja equipment will be workouts that YOU, too, can do. Right now. At home. Anywhere. No excuses!!

So I want all of you to workout along with me. I plan to incorporate all of the prehab and post rehab exercises into exciting kick-butt workouts, show you knew techniques, and post periodic updates and videos...all to help you get in and stay in the best shape of your life.

And as I bring you along on my journey I hope to be an inspiration to all of you out there who may have limiting beliefs around getting into the best shape of your life. You can do it. Trust me. But you may have to dig down a little deeper this time.

Remember, I'll be working out as hard as I can to stay in shape. I'm not going to let hip surgery steer me off course. Not for a minute. I'll just be working smart, and around the pain of my hip.

But I will never give up what I have achieved and I don't want you to give up on reaching your fitness goals either. We can do this together.

What It's All About

Although I'm a super fit chick, remember this: I still have to work hard at it every day. It doesn't come easy. I live and breathe health and fitness every day. Every minute!

But know this too: being in the best shape of my life every day will make it easier both physically and mentally to get through this challenge and bounce back.

And that is why it is so important for you to get in and stay in the best shape of your life, every day. Nobody has a crystal ball, and you don't know what curve balls life will bring.

Be prepared. Be Strong. Both physically and mentally. Be ready to play ball.

And that is what this blog is all about: To inspire YOU to stay on a path that will lead you to a lifestyle of health and fitness where you will never give up on yourself in becoming the best YOU.

You Give Me Inspiration

And while I'm rehabbing, I want you to inspire me.

Tell me about your workouts and your accomplishments and how YOU feel. I'll be here to cheer you on in your quest for your bad ass bod.

Tell me, what is your greatest challenge right now?

Leave a comment below.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York Passes Gay Marriage; California Should Split State

In the wake of New York State's successful and historic passage of Gay Marriage, it has to be said that California looks.. Well... Bad.

We're literally raised to think that California, the Golden State. The place of dreams. The place where you can be you. Will let you be you.

Now, in the wake of New York's action to allow something that should not even be an issue for any truly secure person (sorry), California just looks like a different place. The illusion has been shattered and the emperor has no clothes.

Or maybe the emperor's a confused cross-dresser: conservative one moment, liberal the next. Sorely in need of some way to split their personality.

And by that, I mean the much talked about California split-state movement.

In the past, I wasn't for a split-state movement, thinking that the state could get it's collective act together over such issues as water-rights and gay marriage. But age has a way of making a person impatient, and that's certainly the case with this blogger.

As long as California is one state, it may take another ten years to make Gay Marriage legal in it. How much harder will it be for California to maintain its entertainment industry as state after state around it expresses little care what people do in their private lives?

At some point, California's got to relax about this. I'm not convinced it's going to happen in the near term, so why not just split the state into what we know it really is: Northern California and Southern California.

That's the best remedy.

New York Passes Gay Marriage; California Should Split State

In the wake of New York State's successful and historic passage of Gay Marriage, it has to be said that California looks.. Well... Bad.

We're literally raised to think that California, the Golden State. The place of dreams. The place where you can be you. Will let you be you.

Now, in the wake of New York's action to allow something that should not even be an issue for any truly secure person (sorry), California just looks like a different place. The illusion has been shattered and the emperor has no clothes.

Or maybe the emperor's a confused split-personality: conservative one moment, liberal the next. Sorely in need of some way to split into two people.

And by that, I mean the much talked about California split-state movement.

In the past, I wasn't for a split-state movement, thinking that the state could get it's collective act together over such issues as water-rights and gay marriage. But age has a way of making a person impatient, and that's certainly the case with this blogger.

As long as California is one state, it may take another ten years to make Gay Marriage legal in it. How much harder will it be for California to maintain its entertainment industry as state after state around it expresses little care what people do in their private lives?

At some point, California's got to relax about this. I'm not convinced it's going to happen in the near term, so why not just split the state into what we know it really is: Northern California and Southern California.

That's the best remedy.

Car Driven Into Lake Merritt Oakland, Saturday Morning

According to social media reports, a woman, unidentified, apparently, accidentally drove her car into the waters of Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.

The accident was reported on Twitter and this blogger found it via the use of the social search engine, and during a search for "Lake Merritt."

The photo was placed by @BarakaBlue and them retweeted by @TjaderDaRaider on Twitter and with this tweet: : "Yes that is a car upside down in lake Merritt."

That it was a woman was reported by @MissKimmie123:

@MissKimmie123 Miss Kimmie
Action by the lake I heard a crash then a splash then hella oh my gods, a woman just drove her car in to Lake Merritt never a dull moment

According to @BarakaBlue a "heroic dude" jumped into the waters of Lake Merritt to pull the woman from her car. Then Oakland Police and what was described as "medic and fire squad" was working to get the car out of the water. The woman was said to have lost control of her car, according to the tweets on Twitter.

Judging by the time reports, the accident happened around 1 AM. Also, by the look of the photo, the accident happened on the Lakeshore Avenue side of Lake Merritt.

As of this writing there are no other reports beyond these tweets. I checked Google News, and a number of blog search programs.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Atlanta Social Media Party Links BASHH And Digital Atlanta Meetup

This blogger went out to what was expected to be a small gathering of bloggers at 5 Seasons Westside Brewery, but was a first-time gathering of two digital and social media groups: BASHH, for "Big Ass Social Happy Hour" and the "Digital Atlanta" Meetup. In fact it was a total dive-in and swim experience, where I met a lot of great people, some who I interviewed for the video.

Some brief highlights:

The first person I met was John Peltier, one of the organizers of what he and colleague Anna Gonzalez (who I also interviewed at length) said was a continuation of the BASHH party at SXSW (That's "South-By-South-West," the giant music and tech confab held annually in Austin, Texas.) John says the idea is to have a party that presents a non-threatening place for people curious about blogs and social media to come and find out more about both by meeting people already involved in it. In other words, another excuse to have good drinks, good conversation, and good humor.

Met a lot of great bloggers, for example Cecilia Dominic runs the Atlanta wine blog Random Oenophile , where she highlights "reviews of restaurants and wineries," and from our conversation, has a lot of fun doing it, with some help from her husband Jason. A fun couple to hang with.

Victoria Ellis is a smart, sexy, man-eating riot, who's blog VISHous Life is a diary of dates past and recent, good and bad. Ms. Ellis and her friend Elwyn Lopez left me laughing up a storm, as you will see in the video. Is winding up a subject in Vish's blog's a good thing or a bad thing? Whatever the answer, she's got great material for a TV show, already.

Grace, a junior at Georgia Tech, smartly started a Twitter account that spots deals for Atlanta sports events. Want to know what specials the Atlanta Braves have? You're better off following @ATLSportsDeals than visiting the team's own website.

Nick Valencia is a CNN assignment editor, who describes himself as an "all-round jack of all trades" which is a redundancy, but whatever. Nick's project at CNN is Mexico's drug war, where his collection of blogs and podcasts really constructs and excellent and frankly, very human picture of a problem that's all too often painted in black and white. Take a search look here: LINK.

Terry Coniglio is the Social Media Coordinator at Georgia State University and handles all such activities for the college. That and I observed that she's got a good eye for decent food!

Anna's the ring-leader of the thing - darting, dashing, greeting, and making the event the fun happening it was. When I found out about the meetup, the list I saw read that "9 bloggers" were expected, but it was more like 50 people. I even met two reps of an app called, that's positioned as a Pandora competitor.

As it happened there were two parties, the BASHH event, and the Digital Atlanta meetup, held next door at the correctly-named Octane Coffee cafe. I ran into someone I'd not seen since the 2008 Democratic Convention, and met two of the organizers of Digital Atlanta, set for November 7th 2011.

The idea of Digital Atlanta is to have a "week-long series of events celebrating technology and new media marketing achievements in Atlanta" according to its website. The second annual Digital Atlanta (the 2010 event drew over 3,000 people) is in the planning stages, and, as Susan Berry and Stephanie Frost explain in the video, it's seeking sponsors, so this is a great time to get on board.

In short, I happened to walk-in on a major event in the growth of Atlanta's social media community. I hope this blog and video can help spread the word about what's going on. It's quite exciting.

Stay tuned.

Stolen 1953 Gibson Les Paul Guitar Story Takes A Turn

If you recall the story of Maurice and his stolen 1953 Gibson Les Paul Guitar, where the Vancouver musician took to Facebook and Craigslist to report the theft of his prize possession, the story has taken a new turn.

Someone, either for real or malicious play, has posted a Craigslist ad offering the same 1953 Gibson Les Paul Guitar for sale. This is how the ad reads:

I have for sale a very altered, but very real 1953 Gibson Les Paul.

This is not a gold-top. In the 1950's, it was refitted with an ABR-1 bridge and stop tailpiece, and then refinished, all by Gibson. The green colour in the picture is accurate. It's one of the lightest Gibson Les Pauls, and the only one of its' colour, that I've ever seen.

The ad also uses the same description of how the guitar was altered that Maurice used in the original Craigslist ad, but it leaves a phone number:

Some changes have been made including:
--changed the P-90's to humbuckers
--had the neck thinned and it, the back and the sides were refinished
--replaced worn out machine heads with gold Gibson ones
--added brass switch ring, jack plate, and rear cavity covers that were made for me by my brother-in-law
--added a truss rod cover with "Les Paul" on it
--installed strap-locks

Give me a call on my cell, (515) 460-1400. Headed back to The States soon and I need it gone by then.

That phone number is, interestingly, the same one as used in this ad selling tickets to the Cubs vs. Pirates Opening Day Game:

2 Tickets Cubs Vs Pirates Opening Day 4 1 11 The Loop 40 details visit
I was planning on going opening day for The Cubs tomorrow vs. The Pirates. Unfortunately work is bringing me home early, and I have two tickets to sell before 11am. First come first serve, $40 for both. I am staying at a hotel in the loop, you would have to be able to get down here in the morning to pick them up. 515-460-1400 Location: The Loop it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests ...more

When I called the number, the message said "Hi, this is Chris. I can't get to the phone right now, so leave a message. I'll get back to you."

According to the Facebook friends who tipped me off to this story, Maurice was informed of the ad, and called the police.

I just wonder if the phone number itself belongs to someone other than the person who created the ad.

Stay tuned.

Oakland News: Changing State Of Blogs In Oakland, Part One

Oakland News on the changing state of blogs in Oakland - part one.

Oakland Blog Shrinkage

First, what happened to blogs like OaklandSeen and Good News In Oakland? The OaklandSeen blog started by long-time Oakland political activist and KPFA Morning Show star Aimee Allison has not produced a single new blog post since late May - it's June 24th now. And this tweet was issued June 8th and pointed to some kind of problem:

OaklandSeen has been undergoing a few technical difficulties. Thank you for your patience. Keep watching this space for more Oakland LOVE...

The most recent, most prominent blog post pointed to Oakland Seen's recently gained "Making Democracy Work" award, presented by the Oakland League Of Women Voters. That's the same award given to this blogger for work during the Oakland Mayor's Race - thanks again!

But whatever's happening, and sources have pointed to some difficulties between editorial staff and management, let's hope OaklandSeen makes a come back.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: hyperlocal is hyperstupid. Unless you're going to walk the beat and try and get local businesses to pay more than the website space is worth from a traffic stand-point (hey, there are suckers out there who don't know how to value what they're paying for), you can't make money and sustain a stand-alone blog site that just covers local community news and ignores World News, pop culture, and sports.

And all for the pseudo-intellectual reason of "That's not news." Look, the fact that people look at web items about, I don't know, Heidi Montag, makes it news. This blogger says this all the time to journalists: "Stop whining about it!" People are voyeurs, and so want to read about other people - a web link with a name of a known person will be clicked on more than one about a known place or a thing.

OaklandSeen is still up, but Good News In Oakland is not. It's dead for now, because when you click on the link to the URL, you get a Go Daddy-owned webpage where Good News In Oakland once was. That's sad.

What's happening is that, because the Oakland locals - OaklandSeen, Good News In Oakland, A Better Oakland, Oakland North, Oakland Focus and Oakland Local - largely don't work together, the overall web strength of the total group is poor.

The main problem is that there are a ton of huge egos among Oakland Bloggers that for the most part don't want to really work together, and for the dumbest of reasons.

To point the finger at myself, I've lent a hand to help a number of people, and even invited some Oakland Bloggers to cross-post to my blogs at Oakland Focus and, and other blogs in my 100-blog network. Some do, but then fall off after a time, and then some bad mouth me for no good reason behind my back.

So I'm supposed to want to help that person in the future? I'd rather not. Life's too short for that.

If I'm asked to come to cover an event by another Oakland blog, I'm there. If I can't make it, I explain why I can't. I've shown many how to video-blog, and some how to blog for traffic - but that's where the rub is. Some can't seem to "get" that the Internet is not print, and people will not come just because you wrote the modern day equivalent to War and Peace. Who cares?

Oakland Bloggers: take your freaking ego out of the equation. You have to write so your work is picked up by search engines and news aggregators. What you want people to accept is a dream - wake up.

According to reports, Good News In Oakland had a fund-drive party on December 18th - I wasn't informed of that. But whatever happened, it didn't raise enough money to sustain the blog site; it's gone for now. And the fact that the URL wasn't purchased is reflective of the lack of value of the name itself; people don't type "Good news in Oakland" in search a lot. Just a fact.

What remains is a Facebook page "liked" by well-over 9,000 people, including me. It's one reason why I went off on The City Of Oakland's ill-advised press release about its Facebook Page that has barely one-third the number of likes.

The blog A Better Oakland chugs along, unsupported by ads or a wealthy investment banker; V Smoothe (Echa Schnider), the blog's owner, has a full time job with the Oakland Public Library system (which hopefully she will be able to keep). Plus, she has a tight focus and a small, loyal following of people who reallycare about Oakland, even if they always don't agree with each other.

That Echa has outside income is what makes her situation vastly different from the other examples. The other Oakland blogs have tried to generate income from some source; but while Echa has went on a fund-drive or three in the past, it wasn't to "save" the blog from extinction, more to generate some income for the amount of time she spent on it. Still, it's touch and go.

And what about The Oakland Post, the news of Oakland's black community and stalwart since the Jurassic age of news? The online version exists, but that's about it. It's just a collection of blog posts, and with no social media component - Twitter? Ever heard or it? - at all.

The Oakland Post is a sad example of the Oakland Blog landscape - so full of great potential, yet poor in execution because of lack of teamwork. If the vast majority of people in this town would get over their petty crap, the news would be different. But they don't, and the town suffers.

Ask yourself this question: why don't Oakland Local, Oakland North, and A Better Oakland work together? Why did A Better Oakland and Oakland North skip the Code For Oakland event? Was Echa invited? Was Oakland North invited? A look at their content shows that that Code For Oakland wasn't a subject of coverage - I covered it. But then I was invited.

See? Something's really wrong here in Oakland.

Stay tuned for part two, when I focus on Oakland North, that dreaded interloper The Bay Citizen, and some other surprises.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stolen 1953 Gibson Les Paul Guitar: Man Using Facebook, Craigslist To Get It Back

This is the sad story of a man, Maurice in Vancouver, B.C., who had his 1953 Gibson Les Paul Guitar stolen on June 5th, along with other valuables. The theft has left Maurice without the ability to produce his music, let alone continue his occupation in the way he has done for so many years.

Maurice took to Craigslist and Facebook for help in recovering his 1953 Gibson Les Paul, and while it's not yet been returned, his cry has gone viral: a friend of mine urged me to make the video above to inform the public.

What Maurice writes on Craigslist will make you angry with the person who took his prized possession. He writes:

It's my most personal possession, and I have always planned for my son to have it one day. By the way, the other Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier head you took was his.

It's not of much value to you, but to me, I can't buy another Les Paul like it because another one doesn't exist.. Here's a thought:

Have some decency and redeem some karma. Bring my guitar back. You've fucked my studio up and stolen a life-time collection of my shit. You stole my guitar rig, which was MY sound that I've spent years achieving.

You haven't ripped off a money making business. You've ripped off my life and my spirit immeasurably by taking away the tools of the pursuit of my passion. I've worked extremely hard for my whole life to earn my right to do so, and you took it all away in an hour or two. You've also ripped off my son, now, and in the future. I don't have the money to replace the gear, so it's just gone.

Just give it back - NO QUESTIONS ASKED. PLEASE

So, if you see a guitar that looks like the one here, call the police and make sure it's returned to Maurice. You can reach him via the Facebook or Craiglist page links in this blog.

Stay tuned.

City Of Oakland's Social Media Strategy Is A Joke

This blogger just received an email that added up to an unfortunate joke. The email consists of a press release that starts out like this:

City of Oakland Launches Social Media Strategy with a Twist
New Oakland Facebook Page an Instant Hit

And then goes on to read: "The City of Oakland, CA has ventured into the world of social media by launching a new Facebook page ( “where people who live or work in Oakland connect with each other to discover and share all that makes our city great.” After just a few weeks, the page is already nearing 2,000 fans who are eagerly sharing commentary on topics ranging from arts, culture and family fun to expressing support for local businesses and standing up for Oakland when overlooked or maligned. The result is a robust community dialogue emanating from legions of fans passionate about Oakland.

If a "social media strategy" consists of one Facebook page, then there are millions of social media strategies, just because some Joe Blow started a Facebook page. The main problem, to cut to the chase, before I continue, is that a social media strategy is much more. I've talked about this before:

And even though the video's geared toward the individual, the rules can be easily adopted for any municipal business like The City of Oakland.

What's really sad is that my friend Samee Roberts, the City of Oakland's Marketing Director, went out and put her name on this really, really, tearfully terrible approach. Well, I guess I have to get after a friend, so be it, but Samee informs is that the City spent time and money conducting a survey to tell them they needed a Facebook page!

I'm not kidding, and I'm really disappointed in Samee here. And Karen Wertman, of the consulting firm "Indelible Branding" had the never to make this statement:

"We wanted to make sure that every decision about how to proceed with social media was informed by what matters to people who actually live and work here. We found that as a whole, Oaklanders are incredibly passionate about their city and feel bonded by that appreciation."

It took a survey to learn that?

Oakland's social media strategy is a massive sham if this is all it is.  Samee just emailed and said it was a start; that's good.

Just the other day, I looked for Oakland's Twitter page, and that photo on the left shows what I found.

That's right, the photo reveals a Twitter page with zero tweets, and no followers. An apparently someone had started the thing recently, because the page has one Twitter account followed: that of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. Other than that, the page reads:

@cityofoakland hasn't tweeted yet.

Then, when I checked Twitter Grader, I learned that the City of Oakland's Twitter page has been in existence for 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days.

So someone at the City of Oakland started this Twitter page and basically never maintained it, except for following Mayor Quan.

Wild, man.

I am not going to spend this space giving the City of Oakland free consulting work, and there are those within the City walls who think that when I give advice I'm telling them everything I know, or so other friends hace told me.

Heck, I remember Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty saying to me "thanks" for the "free" Coliseum website advice he thinks I gave the County way back in late 2001. Then, on the urging of then-Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb, I applied to be the Coliseum Executive Director, even though, given the players involved, I didn't expect to get the job.

I saw Scott at the Coliseum box during an Oakland Raiders game that year, and of course the Supervisor couldn't resist being a Smart Alec to me at the time. I didn't have the heart to tell him he got very little out of what I wrote, because he was being so nasty to me at the time.

Sorry, no love from me - I've been around too long - just the truth. We have to do better.

And that something better should be a task force. There are so many people in Oakland who already DO social media well, why hire a consulting firm? A task force is better.

And in closing, something else.

Since the World discovered Twitter and Facebook, I've seen an alarming number of old media-oriented organizations send out press releases on their "social media strategy" only to be hammered by the tech community, of which I'm a part - even have a CrunchBase Profile.">CrunchBase Profile.

The one rule is, if you're new to tech, and don't know what it means to be "disrupted," then stick your neck out to say "Look at me. what do you think?," get ready to be disrupted.

City of Oakland, you've been disrupted.

Of course, I expect the attacks from "anonymous" using whatever they can come up with; so be it.

Stay tuned.

Whitey Bulger, Subject Of The Departed, Arrested By FBI

James "Whitey" Bulger, subject of Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning movie The Departed, was arrested in California on Wednesday, along with his girlfriend Catherine Greig, by the FBI and after 16 years on the run.

Bulger's due to appear before a Federal judge in a Los Angeles court room on charges of of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, narcotics distribution, extortion and money laundering, according to

Here's the ABC World News Now video from YouTube (as a note, ABC thankfully allows bloggers to embed their videos, and is a YouTube Partner, which means they gain revenue from the additional views from the embeds):

The FBI went around the World in pursuit of Bulger and at one point thought they had him in Europe, only to have taken in a German couple.

Not In Good Health

When The FBI finally caught up with Bulger, he was said not to be in good health, according to the Boston Globe - he's 81 years old and his girlfriend, who faces a charge of "harboring a fugitive" is 60 years old. Bulger reportedly didn't put up a fight with the FBI and confessed on the spot.

Reads like he wanted to get caught.

Played by Jack Nicholson

James "Whitey" Bulger was played by legendary actor Jack Nicholson in the 2006 Oscar Best Picture-winning movie The Departed, with Leonardo DiCaprio. Here's a scene from that film:

Stay tuned.