About Your Stance on Kneeling…

In the past several weeks, we’ve seen a frenetic renewal of last season’s controversy involving NFL players kneeling.  during the national anthem (hashtag: #TakeAKnee).
The President of the United States entered into the conversation  and  went as far as to  call the protesting players derogatory names . This, at least temporarily, led to more kneeling, as the spirit of  original protest (against police brutality) blended with a call for solidarity among NFL players.

Of course there has been much frothy-mouthed outcry on cable news and social media.

Personally, I don’t care if anybody stands, or takes a knee during the national anthem at an NFL game.  I haven’t seen an NFL game in years, and have no plans to watch one again (perhaps, I’ll elaborate  on that in a  future post).

Though in principle, I support anybody’s right to stand, or sit; (or sing along, or cover your ears) while the song is being played.

Though I  have one question for the people who have only recently boycotted, (or  threatened  to boycott) the league:

Why in the hell were you still watching the NFL?

The league repeatedly has shown a pattern of  moral bankruptcy, and yet you’ve supported it to this point. Just in the last fews years alone the NFL has been guilty of :

Yet, apparently  you’ve been cool with all of  that so far. And you’re just now getting angry enough to boycott the NFL (or claim that you’re going to), because players are kneeling during  Francis Scott Key’s  composition?

Fans threatening  to boycott the NFL based solely based on the actions of former San Francisco quarterback  Colin Kapernik and his supporters  should reacquaint themselves with these cases:

Ray Lewis 
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was present during a double-murder at  Super Bowl festivities in 2001. He was originally charged in the killing though reached a plea-bargain to accept an obstruction of justice conviction.  His blood-spattered, XXL white suit “disappeared.” (give me a freakin’ break).

Despite his admission of guilt, he served no time. I don’t fault his team or the league for that. Rich people get the best trial outcomes.  That’s a problem with our justice system, not just the NFL.

However, his team, and the NFL honored him with a statue when he retired. AFTER  he obstructed justice…in a DOUBLE MURDER! Furthermore, upon his retirement he was offered, and accepted a job  as an NFL analyst by ESPN, and later by Fox Sports.

That is a problem with the networks. And the NFL/Did you boycott the NFL then?

Adrian Peterson
Several years ago Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson assaulted his son. Save your argument about discipline folks. Hitting a 4-year-old with a switch, repeatedly (near and on)  the genitals, and drawing blood is not “punishment” it’s assault. (graphic images). It is ABUSE.

Peterson boasted about the beating in a text to the child’s mother. The child reported to police that Peterson had threatened to punch him in the face if the incident was reported to authorities.

The really bizarre thing is that the child  was abused because Peterson was trying to teach him a lesson….that hitting kids is wrong.Peterson remained in the NFL. And you apparently remained a fan after that.

Ray Rice
A notorious 2014  case involving Ravens running back Ray Rice who knocked his girlfriend unconscious in a hotel elevator. A tape of Rice carrying the woman’s limp body was shared widely on the internet. Rice was soon  given a suspension of two games.

It’s worth noting that the NFL had previously suspended players for an entire season for smoking marijuana. That’s right, you get suspended for hitting your unconscious, but a 16-games game suspension for hitting a bong.

Rice’s suspension was lengthened only after public outcry that was largely driven by release of video of Rice’s punching his girlfriend inside the elevator.Rice was not singed by another NFL team, but was victorious in a wrongful termination  suit. He is believed to have settled for an amount that was close to what he’d demanded: $3.5 million. How’s that for a punishment?

Richie Incognito
Dolphins lineman Richie Cognito  made death threats and repeatedly hurled racial epithets at a teammate (Jonathan Martin) ub  person, and via text messages. This  was initially written off as rookie hazing.

After some outcry in the media,  Cognito received  a short suspension and  later signed for a nearly $16 million contract last year.

That’ll teach him.

Dave Duerson
(Unlike the previous examples, Duerson was not guilty of a crime, though the NFL has been fraudulent in its claims of concussion-related injuries in the league).

In 2011, former Bears player Dave Duerson took his own life. While all suicides are tragic, what is especially unsettling about Duerson’s  is that his last conscious act was to point a gun at his chest rather than his head. He specified in writing that he wanted his brain studied.

Duerson had been plagued in recent years by memory loss, cognitive issues and unexplained aggression and hoped that researchers might find a root cause.Duerson’s autopsy revealed that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) a  brain condition caused by repeated concussive injuries.

CTE is a  large and controversial topic, but the NFL’s history with misdirection on this topic is well chronicled in the documentary “League of Denial” (trailer below):


(I could go on all day with these examples , but I have a house to clean…)

In the 2015-2016 NFL  season  Colin Kaepernik, began making  of civil disobedience during the national anthem, first sitting, and later kneeling while the song was performed. That is not a crime (a reminder: obstruction of justice, domestic violence, fraud…are crimes).

I stopped watching football long before the protests,  in large part to some of the incidents, I’ve cited above. I never saw Kaepernik play, (or protest). I only vaguely remember hearing his name before the national anthem-related coverage began in 2016.

Several weeks into the 2017 Kaepernik has not signed a contract.  His stance (ironically expressed by kneeling ) apparently has cost him a contract this season.

He has been willing to stand (kneel) for his principles. Are you? If so, why were you OK with supporting the  league after any of the other events listed above?

And if your grievance with  the #takeaknee movement  is “that it’s disrespectful to veterans”  that  begs a new  question:  how vigorously did you protest this?

If you didn’t express objection to a presidential candidate’s (now president) disrespect to all POWs (yes, all), your claim that #TakeAKnee insults the military is rather hollow, don’t you think?

In any case, if you’re going to boycott the NFL, then boycott the NFL and  quit talking about it. As those sporting-apparel commercials have been telling you for 30 years: just do it.

Regardless of the antagonizing issue–misdirection brain injuries, enabling of domestic violence, obstruction of justice–there are ample reasons to break from the NFL. Pick a reason and stick to your principles. Be like Colin Kaepernik (you don’t have “like” Kaepernik).

This Sunday, at the time of day when you’re normally bellied up to the nacho bowl in preparation for a kickoff, get yourself outdoors. Then go outside next Sunday and the Sunday after that….

If you miss football, then play some football. Enjoy the best weather of the year and run some some fly patterns in the park or on your street. Let the neighborhood kids marvel at your over-the-shoulder catches.  You’ll enjoy the tranquility. And you could probably use the exercise.

You’ll also have the chance  to reflect on whether you are really the principled person you think you are.

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It’s Time To Talk About Gun-Meme Control

As a few of you know, I lost somebody in my family to gun violence. I guess you all know that now.

I don’t let his death (at age 26)  consume me. I don’t commemorate the anniversary. I am way past the guilt phase; there is absolutely, nothing that I could have differently in his lifetime  that would have changed the outcome. Moreover, I go to great lengths to not let his death color my judgement on topics such as the capital punishment, gun rights, etc.

However, in this era, there are periodic reminders of that event, of that unnecessary waste of a young life, and it’s difficult not to go back to that day. The reminders aren’t limited to actual news events, either. It’s more the followup that occurs on the social-media channels such as Facebook.

That all being said, I think the shrill cries of “we need more guns” and “we need to ban all guns now” are equally ludicrous. Honestly, my opinions are not that extreme one way or the other, and think that many of conclusions on the topic are the result of a gross oversimplification of reality.

However what is really, really peculiar to me is that some (not all) of the people who brag about having Jesus on their speed-dial are the first ones to respond to a headline-grabbing shooting with status updates bragging about how many rounds-per-second their piece can fire. Or they share memes, adorned with dodgy statistics, hackneyed phrases, and often with fake quotes.

Whether the claims in the post or shared memes are right or wrong is inconsequential. My personal opinion is that it’s pretty fucking insensitive to post these publicly after mass shootings. Or any other time for that matter.

I don’t need anymore goddamn reminders of that early morning phone call I got a few Augusts ago. I doubt anybody who’s gone through a similar experience is chomping at the bit to see your memes of Ronald McDonald cradling an AR-15,  either.

If these memes of gun worship really make you feel better, then consider putting them in your computer’s screen saver or you phone’s photo gallery. I think many of us would prefer you keep your false idols to yourself.

I expect, like with other controversial topics, my opinion will be considered offensive to some  and might  result a few “unfriendings” of Facebook,  etc. If that is your choice,  so be it.

That’s a clear  indicator we weren’t friends to begin with.

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Once You’re Gone, You Can’t Come Back

(This article is about Linkedin’s publishing features, I guess the headline qualifies as clickbait, is the first time I did that intentionally, and sickened to say this, but it felt great).

For the second time, I inadvertently deleted a draft of an in-progress Linkedin article. In both cases, I don’t really know what happened. I think today the draft was deleted when I was merely trying to delete the header image.

Unlike the previous occurrence, the draft I deleted this morning was approaching completion. I had just done my final(ish) rewrite and was planning to publish the article this morning.

Linkedin’s Help section said “Once you’ve deleted your article from LinkedIn, it no longer exists on our platform and we’re unable to retrieve it.”

Hmm….that has a bit of a 20th century aroma, doesn’t it?

I acknowledge that I was controlling the mouse and keyboard, I was the user who (unintentionally) went through the sequence of events to delete the draft.

Though rewriting a nearly completed article seems like a rather severe punishment for the crime (misdemeanor?) of an absent-minded misclick. Agree?

One (3rd-party) help page suggested a work-around that would have me create a new, empty article and “just” paste the text of the deleted article.

Just? Paste? That assumes that the text of article is on my clipboard, and that I JUST copied, or JUST cut it. It’s an equally viable recommendation to say ” ‘Just’ don’t delete anything, ever.”

Perhaps Linkedin could “just” add a draft-restore feature.

I understand why all deleted content can’t be in a recoverable state until the end of time. Linkedin can’t store every byte of user-created data forever. There has to be a purge cycle.

Though, the ability to recover recently lost content seems like an expected feature of modern information systems. At least I expect it.

Perhaps it’s time that Linkedin and I had the “Principle Five” talk, about tolerance for (user) error in design. Quite simply, Principal Five of the Universal Design guidelines holds:

  • “The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.”

I recognize that not every potential user pitfall can be accounted for in testing a site as large as Linkedin. Thus, improvements are often going be the result of input from users.

On that topic, I don’t see a means to submit feature requests or to provide constructive criticism to Linkedin. It might be there somewhere, but is not immediately evident (<sigh> a Princple Three violation).

Providing users the ability to recover an inadvertently deleted draft does not have need to be a lifetime commitment for Linkedin. It seems that a predefined recovery window (one or three days, perhaps) would be sufficient.

Hell, I if I had a 45-second window to recover a draft, I wouldn’t be writing this article.

If you were fished in by the headline and read this to very end, thanks for doing so, here is a token of my appreciation;


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Content and Coffee Tour 2017

(My “Content and Coffee” tour is resuming after a brief respite. Below is a description, from article,  originally posted on Linkedin in April 19th 2017.  )

Pancakes Make People Happy

Pancakes (and Coffee) Make Me  Happy

Just got home from my second stop on my Content and Coffee Tour, meeting with Matt Patulski at Little Lucy’s Café in Grand Rapids. This meeting comes just a few days after the inaugural event with Laura Bergells at the venerable Horrocks.

Both are long-time friends with great ideas about creating, managing, publishing, and curating content, who happen to like coffee (what are the odds?). Glad to be working with both of them on the West Michigan Content Strategy Meetup.

A couple of weeks ago, I completed an engagement as a SharePoint administrator. I’d contacted a few friends (some of them are actually former colleagues and clients!) about “catching up” over coffee. Then at our content strategy meetup last week, and talking to members, the idea evolved into a listening tour where I learn, and document, as much as a I can about all forms of content.

I’m planning some more stops in West Michigan, Detroit and Chicago in the next few weeks, and possibly Whipple Ohio (the quality and volume of happy content there is stunning).

I’ll also be making a nostalgia trip to the East Coast later in the year, so I’d be up for content talk at Fenway Park, or in Bar Harbor, or at the Delaware Water Gap. I might even be talked into Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Let’s talk! I’d love to hear more about content tribulations and triumphs from all of my content friends and friends to be.

If you don’t like coffee, that is not a showstopper. We can make it Content and Skimmed Milk, Content and Sushi, Content and IPA, or Content and Onion Rings.

Because everything goes with content!

If we can’t meet in person, let’s talk via phone, Skype or your favorite communication vehicle. Please contact me here and we’ll make arrangements.

(You want that mug, don’t you? Everybody does. You can order one here. Or you can visit POSH in Chicago, on State Street, that great street…)

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