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Archive for April, 2015|Monthly archive page

Learning from McHenry’s vicious rant

In Business, Entertainment, Media, National News, Opinion, psychology, television, Uncategorized on April 24, 2015 at 10:07 am

DIH LOGOHave you ever had a really bad day? I mean one of those days when the slightest thing will set you off and you bite someone’s head off for no particular reason? Having a rough day can cause anyone to lash out for no apparent reason. The unfortunate recipient of such wrath could be your kids, a co-worker, or even a clerk at a towing company.

Last week ESPN sports broadcaster Britt McHenry did just that, but she added a few frills and dressings that she now most likely regrets. More accurately, she probably regrets that there was a security camera recording every moment of her vicious tirade leveled at a towing company clerk in Arlington, Virginia.

Britt McHenry on security camera ranting at towing clerk.

Britt McHenry on security camera ranting at towing clerk.

By suggesting that McHenry may have been reacting to a bad day, I am certainly not defending her. She clearly has some deep-seated personal insecurities to be so mean to, well, anyone. She had her back to the wall and we may have seen a glimpse of the real person behind the media façade. But, ignoring the woman’s obvious personal shortcomings, how many of us would be appalled to see our behavior replayed for the entire world after a difficult experience?

As for McHenry, I’ll grant her that it’s not easy to be a normal human being in the public eye, although, in truth, not being a sports consumer, I’d never heard of her until this incident surfaced. Still, no one is perfect. We all have our warts, but, for some of us, sometimes they’re a bit uglier than we realize, no matter how much we try to conceal them.

A difficult experience can bring all of that ugliness to the surface with great force, sometimes beyond our awareness. And, once it’s out there, it’s out there, particularly if you happen to be a public figure in a world of constant surveillance and instantaneous social media.

One op-ed I read after the incident commented more on McHenry’s apparent self-image, suggesting that she clearly exhibited an, “overblown sense of entitlement and evidence of a mean girl who never left high school.” The writer then went on to defend her somewhat, noting how quickly she was judged by the public without the other side of the story ever being revealed.

Well, since this is my op-ed column, I will say that, given her behavior, the other side doesn’t really matter much. Being angry at the situation and lashing out is understandable, particularly if you just had your car towed. But McHenry’s personal, demeaning attacks against the clerk were just plain vial. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say she was arrogant, snobby, and just plain brutal.

Others in defense of McHenry call the release of the video a “public shaming,” but I can’t agree. McHenry shamed herself, no one made her behave that way. We all make choices and we have to live with the consequences. The pretty, popular and famous people of the world can’t be held to a higher standard (since they’re human too), but they are certainly no exception.

One thing struck me even more oddly. I have worked in media for many years and I have to ask how it never occurred to McHenry that there were probably security cameras on her? Even after the camera was pointed out by the clerk, she continued her rant, which became even more despicable.

After that, she got what she deserved. In my professional opinion, from a public relations standpoint, the best thing her bosses could do is show her the door – permanently. She’s bad for business and constant judgment and public scrutiny are the price of life in the media. Those who choose that life don’t get to whine about it.

Everyone has the right to be upset in difficult circumstances but no one has the right – not even the rich and famous – to belittle a person because of his or her own delusions of grandeur and privilege. Perhaps we could all learn an important lesson from McHenry’s behavior? Difficult situations might be more tolerable if everyone involved behaved as though the cameras are on them.


Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com.

Vent maintenance key to dryer fire prevention

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Home Improvement, Local News, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on April 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm

dryer_vent_3_ductzDayton, OH – According to the United States Fire Administration nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires are reported each year, causing an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and more than $35 million in property damage. Statistics show that the most common cause of those fires (some 34-percent) was failure to keep the traps and dryer vents clean and free of lint.

Many people proceed from the incorrect impression that the dryer’s removable lint trap will protect prevent major lint build up. Dryer lint can blow right past the trap and end up packed around the machine’s internal components and clog the entire length of a vent pipe.

Click to watch the TV interview with Larry Phillips on WDTN-TV2

Click to watch the TV interview with Larry Phillips on WDTN-TV2

Larry Phillips is the owner of DUCTZ of Southeast Miami Valley, a professional duct and vent cleaning service. “The most important reason to have the dryer vent cleaned is safety,” Phillips says. “There are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of a dryer vent fire.”

dryer_vent_2_ductzFirst, Phillips suggests paying close attention to the dryer’s operation. “If you notice that your clothes are taking longer to dry, especially if it’s more than 50 minutes, you should probably have your dryer vent cleaned, or even replaced,” Phillips says.

“Your dryer vent should be made of flexible aluminum and never a PVC pipe or plastic material. Plastic vent pipe materials may add to the fire hazard. Your dryer vent should also vent to the outdoors – never indoors, especially natural gas units. Gases vented during the dryer’s operation can be harmful to people and pets.”

Critters can be cause problems for dryer vents as well. “Outside dryer vents should be free of debris and any louvered cover must be able to open easily. Also, be sure to check the outside vent often, as small animals and birds often see the vent as an ideal place to make a home.”

dryer_vent_1_ductzFinally, Phillips advises to never use duct tape on a dryer vent, but metal foil tape. Most building codes restrict the length of dryer vent pipes to no more than 25 feet. Longer pipes with sharp turns or raised and lowered sections can be of particular concern because lint gets trapped in the elbows and is difficult to detect and remove.

For those who rent a home, Phillips offers this advice. “Ask your landlord what their dryer vent cleaning schedule is. Most landlords are required to have the dryer vent cleaned each year by their local government.”

For more information on dryer vent safety, contact Larry Phillips at DUCTZ of Southeast Miami Valley, (937) 399-8500. Online at http://www.ductz.com/contact-us/location-map/ohio/ductz-of-se-miami-valley/.

Clinton and the lesser of “who cares.”

In Economy, history, National News, Opinion, Politics on April 14, 2015 at 7:37 am

DIH LOGONow that Hillary Clinton has finally confirmed her run at the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, there is growing concern that the next election will be all about electing a woman, rather than choosing the right candidate for the job.

America’s political landscape has changed a great deal since Clinton’s first run at the Oval Office in 2008. After eight years with a Democrat in the White House, and with Barack Obama’s job approval numbers struggling to maintain a tepid 47-percent, the country may simply be ready for a change. But is a female president too much change?

Back in 1984, the Democrats put the first woman on a presidential ticket, selecting former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as the vice presidential candidate alongside former Vice President Walter Mondale.  Despite her strong political background and experience many saw her as somewhat of a publicity stunt, designed to appeal to women and a rising number of younger voters.

Ferraro’s albatross, however, turned out to be, not the indecisive voter, but Walter Mondale, a stale, crusty relic of the 1960s who really had no chance against an incredibly popular incumbent by the name of Ronald Regan. Many experts still suggest that the democrats might well have prevailed had the ticket been reversed, with Ferraro as the presidential candidate.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin suffered a similar problem having been anchored to old-guard republican, John McCain. But Palin also lacked Ferraro’s professionalism, legal education and political clout and she was often viewed as little more than a tactic to draw votes from Hillary Clinton.

clintonWomen always seem to be held back from being in the real fight. Vice president is obviously a great job – the photo ops, the ribbon cuttings, the pacifiers. But if anything is going to be accomplished in the name of social evolution, the female candidate is going to have to be strong enough to lead the ticket; a trait Hillary has certainly demonstrated in her various roles throughout the last couple of decades.

However, if the next election turns out to be all about social popularity, breaking the glass ceiling of the Oval Office and a long campaign of “he said,” “she said,” then the smartest thing the GOP could do to increase their chances of winning in 2016 is go out and find an African American republican woman with impeccable professional and personal credentials. Actually, they already have someone in their camp that fits all of those qualifications – Condoleezza Rice.

Former Secretary of State Rice is one of the few conservatives (male or female) who could potentially give Clinton a real challenge. A republican ticket led by Rice could very well offer conservative voters something besides the lesser of “who cares.”

Unfortunately, based on her previous statements, she would be unlikely to run at all and, from a public relations standpoint, she’s been out of the limelight for some time. With such a hard-hitting campaign expected, Rice would simply not have the time to help voters get reacquainted with her and her platform.

In the opinion of objective observers, President Obama may have achieved a few things, but his current approval demonstrates that he fell short in many ways. If a well-suited opponent ever surfaces from the conservative sea, Hillary Clinton will have a tough time convincing people another democrat can improve things further.

Sadly, if the voting public is true to their tunnel-versioned pattern, they will once again miss an incredible opportunity to elect the right person for the job, rather than simply pulling the lever to motivate an agenda. Regardless of how seriously Americans want social evolution, it will never be a good idea to vote for someone – to any office – solely because of race, gender, religious background or party affiliation.

For once, if politicians would speak honestly and if voters would take just a moment to consider qualifications, character, and intent, American politics might finally be productive, compassionate and properly serve the people. But, as long as human beings still act with more emotion than good sense, any change would be nothing less than a miracle and Hillary is a sure thing.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com.