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Fragile life, one to a customer.

In Health, Local News, Opinion, Science, Senior Lifestyle, Technology on July 18, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGORecently, I was reminded again of just how fragile life really is for us. The human body is an amazing bit of engineering. Each of us is comprised of a mass of carefully balanced electromechanical systems that may seem at times indestructible but at others so delicate that the slightest damage could be catastrophic.

The adult body is supported by 206 bones, around 6 quarts of blood, a pair of lungs, two kidneys, about 20 feet of intestines, one heart and stomach, and 31 pairs of nerves. But for all of this, and more, the most important component is the brain, the body’s control center.

The human brain is incredibly resilient, resisting failure through high fevers, concussions, and countless other kinds of injuries. But, like an electronic circuit board, the brain’s delicate electrical system can “short out,” causing failure in other areas of the body, sometimes without warning.

Last week my brother, Gary Jr., was complaining of numbness in his right arm. He was having trouble gripping things or using simple tools. He worked through it, but over the next several days the symptoms advanced to become Parkinson’s – like tremors, causing his arm and hand to shake and flail.

IMG_3857

Gary Deer Jr. with brother Gery (left) and father Gary Sr. just prior to surgery.

At the emergency room, doctors first thought he’d had some kind of stroke and he was admitted for further tests which revealed some type of mass on the lower left part of his brain. At this point, they’re still not certain whether the spot is a tumor or some kind of infection, but any type of stroke has been ruled out.

During the first day at the hospital, he experienced several seizures similar to those caused by Epilepsy, each more invasive than the last; violent shaking of one side of the body, garbled speech and periods of unconsciousness. Medication settled the seizures but doctors are still waiting to figure out how to treat the lesion on the brain. Hopefully there will be something positive to report later on, but for now we wait.

Until his arm went numb and the tremors started it seemed like there was no warning to all of this, high insight revealed that the clues were everywhere. Most of his early symptoms were easily dismissed as fatigue or previous injury.
He had been more tired than usual in recent weeks, even falling asleep during conversations. He was having trouble with the right arm before as well, but attributed those issues with a car accident he’d been involved in a few months earlier.

So the point here is, if something seems out of the ordinary don’t wait until it turns into something more to get it checked out. At this point, there is no way to know if earlier detection would have made much difference for my brother, but, assuming a full recovery – and that’s the only outcome I can imagine right now – it might have helped decrease the yet to be known long-term effects.

For a guy in his early 60s, my brother is in relatively good health, having only ever gone to the doctor for severe cases, such as pneumonia or to be checked out after that car accident. Even though he eats like a teenager on a diet of hot dogs, popsicles and soda pop, he is usually energetic and on the move. Still, this thing snuck up and bit him when he wasn’t looking, as many serious illnesses tend to do.

Sometimes it’s hard to accept your own mortality or imagine that something the size of the end of a ball point pen could cripple you or end your life. We are incredibly fragile creatures. Gary Jr. and I joke often that we each should have died several times over from events we’ve experienced in life – a truck crash, lightning electrocution, something – but I never imagined either of us being taken out by something so small.

I survived serious health issues from birth, so I don’t play games with life – extreme sports, drinking, smoking, etc. – and this is one example of why. So if you’re experiencing odd symptoms, or don’t feel like yourself for whatever reason, don’t wait. Go get checked out. People need you more than you might realize.

Update: July 18, 2015 – My brother’s case has changed since this column was first submitted. Surgery on July 15th revealed no tumors or cancer but instead a serious bacterial infection which created a tumor-like abscess in the brain. The infectious mass was removed but the overall infection will have to be treated with intravenous antibiotics for several weeks followed by many months of continued antibiotic therapy. At this time, he is still in the hospital but recovering and is expected to be released soon to home care.

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

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A favorite book can comfort and enlighten.

In Books, Entertainment, Opinion, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized on June 23, 2015 at 1:58 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGONot too long ago, I published a Deer In Headlines column on the subject of how, as a writer, I’m frequently asked what books I read and why. Since then, I realized that I have a tendency to re-read certain books that I’ve enjoyed over the years and I know that most people do the same thing.

Click to watch the TV interview of this topic from Living Dayton, WDTN-TV2.

Click to watch the TV interview of this topic from Living Dayton, WDTN-TV2.

So, it had me wondering, in a world with countless literary choices, why we often choose to go back to an old favorite, rather than boldly going where we’ve never read before. After a little research and some asking around, I learned that the reasons we sometimes revisit the same bookshelf are more complicated than I first thought.

For starters, humans are creatures of comfort, at least to some extent, and many of us read because it was one of the ways our parents made a connection when we were very young. Reading was soothing, like an old blanket you wrap up in before bedtime and have a hard time parting with once it’s tattered and threadbare.

Gery holds copies of "Flights of Fiction" - one of his favorite books. Produced by the Western Ohio Writers Association.

Tradition might be another word to describe this idea too. Personally, I like to read Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol,” at the holidays every year – time permitting – as one of my own traditions. It’s a story that never fails to entertain and enlighten, and I always take away something new.

If a certain book imprints on you from a young age, you’re likely to go back to it again and again for the sheer level of reassurance it brings you. A familiar story can be calming and offer a welcome escape from the daily rigors of life or just a fun adventure into another world.

Re-reading a book you once read in your youth can also offer a different perspective. Life experience can change how we view ideas or motivations first encountered at a much younger age. Going back to that book you read in high school English class might just take your understanding of its meaning to a new level.

Plus peeling back the layers of the author’s work with a more mature perspective can even help you learn more about yourself. One article I read on the subject referred to this concept as, “cheap, effective therapy.”

When others talk about a book you’ve already read, you may discover that there are elements of the story you might have missed the first time around. Going back over it again on a quest to uncover those points for yourself can turn a good read into a great adventure, even if it’s not your first trip through the tale.

There are many other reasons why we re-read our old favorites. We may like the author or just enjoy the book for no readily apparent reason. Whatever your impetus, dust off that old copy of your favorite novel and give it another look. In case you are wondering, here are two of my favorite re-reads and a bit about why I choose to go back to them time and again.

I seem to repeatedly choose, “Microserfs” by Douglas Coupland. This is a fictional story, set in the early 1990s, about a group of Microsoft programmers who broke away to go out on their own while dealing with life’s road blocks. I always find it inspiring and I can easily relate to their desire to be part of “version one point zero.”

Another book I revisit regularly is, “Hit Man,” by Lawrence Block. There are four books in the “Hit Man” series, but I always go back to the original. The main character is, as the title suggests, a killer for hire. But the way Block presents him to the audience as somewhat mile mannered and tells the story of his rather violent occupation is intriguing and thoughtful.

I have others, but these make the point of how varied our favorites can be. Just like old movies and TV shows, favorite books have a meaning in our lives. Sometimes it’s just good to go back and visit that world, whether it’s over the rainbow or just down the street.

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

Join my #facebookfast and unplug for Memorial Day

In Children and Family, Health, Holiday, News Media, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on May 23, 2015 at 5:58 am

DIH LOGOOver the years I’ve done several articles and television interviews on the subject of going “off the grid,” when you put down the smartphone and tablet computer to unplug for a while. But some people simply can’t imagine letting go of their connection to the information superhighway, even for a few minutes.

Who knows what disasters might befall them if they miss that one, all-important posting that could quite literally change their lives forever. Of course, in reality, none of that stuff really matters.

It could be argued that political, racial and other social tensions might be less volatile if there were no social media to spread negativity and anger at the speed of light. Although it offers a positive outlet to promote social change, it also invites hateful rhetoric that can be distributed instantly and constantly.

Social media can sometimes even exacerbate depression in people already prone to the problem. True, it can sometimes elicit encouragement, support and sympathy. In my opinion, however, that level of support is only effective in the long term if it comes from in-person contact with people who really know you and care.

For the record, my job and my lifelong ties in technology leave me as guilty as the next person when it comes to maintaining my cyber connection. That said I still try to treat it like a tool – one for communication, maintaining a surface contact with friends I rarely get to see or just keeping up with my interests. But it can still be overwhelming at times and then I have to shut it off.

As it turns out, there is something called “social media anxiety.” Although it’s not recognized as a mental disorder (yet), from what I have read the problem results, in part, from this unrealistic sense of urgency with which we have endowed our virtual engagements. So, I think we all need a break.

Can you unplug for the #facebookfast?

Can you unplug for the #facebookfast?

If you’re one of the millions suffering from social media anxiety or just need a respite from the constant “Likes,” texts, tweets, pins and pokes, I’d like to make the following proposal. I’m inviting all of my readers, followers, and everyone else, to join me in what I’ve chosen to call, “The Facebook Fast.”

For 24 hours, we turn off all social media, going cold turkey on everything; no tweets, Facebook messages, or Pinterest posts – nothing. I considered suggesting a 48-hour-moratorium, but I thought that might send some people to a rubber room. The big question is, when?

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is always best spent with family and friends in the real world, so it seems the perfect time for a cyber-fast. Therefore, “The Facebook Fast” will kick off on Monday, May 25, 2015, at 12:01 a.m. and remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. the same day, so you even get two free minutes.

I expect this will be a challenge for a lot of people, me included. Because of the holiday, we’re all going to want to post and check in all day but we must resist temptation. If you can get your family and friends to participate too, it’ll be easier to hang in there.

Oh, I can almost feel the panic setting in at the mere thought of cutting the social media cord. But relax, consider it a “cyber cleanse.” Don’t worry; these particular DTs will pass quickly. And, in the event you can’t possibly imagine how you will stay in touch with the world for a whole day without social media, I have a few suggestions.

You could: read a book or newspaper, go outside, pick up the phone and actually call someone, meet a friend for dinner, go to a ball game, visit a local attraction, or any number of other activities that involve actual, human contact.

In something of an irony, the best way to spread the word about the fast is by using the hash tag, #facebookfast. I feel safe in guaranteeing to you that nothing bad will happen from ignoring social media for one day. The world will continue to turn and, if we’re lucky, it might also slow down just a little bit and give us all a moment to catch our breath.

 

Special Editorial Note: For fans of the late author Douglas Adams and his series of books from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” May 25th is also “Towel Day.” If you want to participate in the #facebookfast, just save up photos from Towel Day events and activities and post them at 11:59PM! If everyone hits it at once, “Towel Day” will trend on Twitter! 

 

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

 

 

More money needed to combat child poverty

In Children and Family, Economy, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology on May 19, 2015 at 11:51 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOFor many Americans, a day of suffering might include a flat tire on the way to work, the cable going out right before a favorite program, or a long line at the coffee shop. But for millions of children, suffering means doing without basic necessities like proper nutrition and even the most basic health care.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), more than 16 million children in the United States live in families with income below the poverty level of $23,550. That’s a staggering 22-percent of all the kids in the country.

Some people today believe that childhood poverty in America is something from the past. In fact, one in six children in the United States lives below the poverty line.

Some people today believe that childhood poverty in America is something from the past. In fact, one in six children in the United States lives below the poverty line.

Despite the political rhetoric, generally coming from conservatives who feel poverty is a problem of the lazy, the NCCP reports that most of the parents of these children do indeed work. But low wages and in unstable employment situations continue to restrict any sort of progress for them. Experts agree that poverty is the single greatest threat to the welfare of American children in modern society.

In addition, for those who believe that poverty is a problem mainly suffered by minorities, here are some statistics. The NCCP reports that among America’s poorest children, 4.2 million are white, 4 million are Latino, 3.6 million are African American, 400,000 are Asian, and 200,000 are American Indian. That’s right; the majority of American kids living in poverty are white. But, clearly, the numbers are fairly close, so it’s certainly clear that poverty doesn’t seem to discriminate.

Red Nose DayMost of what’s needed to help this problem involves, as always, more money. There just isn’t enough funding through government social service programs to provide the needed services to support poverty-stricken children and younger adults. The National Broadcasting Company (NBC), along with charity partners such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Feeding America, is sponsoring a national day of awareness and fund-raising called, “Red Nose Day,” on Thursday, May 21st.

The United Way of Orange County, California explained the event on their website, “The campaign encourages everyone from children to corporations to do something fun in the name of raising awareness around a serious global issue, while also raising funds to help identify and deliver solutions. Red Nose Day USA activities culminate in a 3-hour telethon airing on NBC Saturday May 21 at 8pm.”

In addition to events like Red Nose Day, people are encouraged to help out in whatever capacity available to them, and it’s not just about writing a check. Those interested in volunteering can check with their local chapter of The United Way or other social service organizations to find out more.

Living in the richest, most powerful country in the world should inherently provide some kind of security for a child, at the very least with regard to food and shelter. Without proper living conditions, a child will simply not be able to learn well and that makes school less of a priority than eventually helping the family to support itself.

Children who can’t learn or leave school will only continue the cycle of poverty in many instances, forever locking themselves into the lowest paying work, when employment is even available.

So the question begs to be asked, “Can’t the government do more?” Yes, it can. But it hasn’t, and it probably won’t. Annually, only a pittance of tax dollars is allocated towards this problem and local social service programs are continually scaled back because of lack of funding.

Even the great Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), which was supposed to provide health insurance for America’s poorest citizens, has made no significant difference. Because of its incredibly complicated application procedures, among other reasons, the program has thoroughly failed to meet healthcare needs of these children and their families.

Even if someone only has a little more, there is always a way to help those with far less. Red Nose Day is a fun start, but there needs to be more done to help those living in poverty. Congress (liberal and conservative alike) and the president share the blame for this tragic disfigurement of American culture. It’d be interesting to see how they would handle living without the six-figure salaries and free insurance.

 

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

A national, online university is impractical.

In Economy, Education, finances, history, National News, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on March 9, 2015 at 12:59 pm

DIH LOGOA recent CNN.com article by Kevin Carey proposed the idea that America could bring to reality George Washington’s dream of a national university by utilizing the Internet-based programs of existing institutions. Colleges and universities already receive millions every year in federal money, so some of that could be allocated towards low-tuition, online education. Good idea in concept, but not practical.

Although Internet-based programs have been in place for some time at universities around the country, many educators still believe that online education lacks the face-to-face contact necessary for students to connect with the subtleties of concepts and ideas. Questions cannot be answered immediately and written communication skills become more vital since intent and personality don’t always come across the same way virtually as in person.

Obviously, online options are not well-suited for every course of study, particularly where hands-on work is vital, such as the physical sciences or engineering. The ITDL article notes that videos would need to be produced, substantially increasing costs, while still lacking in the ability for students to get direct, immediate feedback. Flaws aside for a moment, online options have some positive aspects as well.

booksA few years ago, one article in the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning noted that some educators employ online discussion boards to compensate for absent face time. One professor referenced in the article also suggested that, “a virtual environment reduces gender differences,” creating a more equal educational setting for men and women.

A national university could potentially be cobbled together from existing web-based programs and at a considerable savings. With online education there are fewer administrative issues, no buildings to construct and no libraries to collect.

But if the intent of such a program would be a stepping stone towards achieving President Obama’s promises of free community college education, further examination is probably needed. On the surface, a virtually-based, national community college program looks like a great solution to a daunting issue. Digging down, however, the financial and educational factors that sparked the idea in the first place would also be its greatest hindrance.

In order for such a program to be of value, it would need to be within the reach of the poorest of American citizens. Computers, for all they seem readily available by the upper-middle class, are still fiscally out of reach for those of lower income.

A computer at the local library is great for submitting job resumes or checking Facebook, but long-term study on public computers is impractical and insecure. Add to that most public computers are painfully slow and out-of-date, with restricted web search capability, and they seem like a thoroughly impossible option.

Additionally, free (or nearly free) dial-up Internet access would be wholly insufficient for higher learning programs so students would need to use high-speed broadband service. Once again, pricing and accessibility become the major issues. It simply costs too much for most lower-income families to afford high-speed Internet service and, in rural communities, availability remains shockingly limited.

Finally, there is the issue of prerequisite education. Besides whatever background might be needed for enrollment and future success in any particular program, a lack of computer skills can also hamper online class work.

The average computer user has a parenthetical set of skills: they can surf the web (but tend to stay on websites they know how to navigate), use a simple word processor, send a basic email (without attachments), print something and turn the machine off and on. That’s pretty much it.

Some of college coursework would require the student to possess advanced computer skills related to online research, clerical software manipulation, media production and so on. That might be a problem for someone coming from a background of limited resources or a family where technology didn’t play a major role.

None of this is impossible, but the limits on infrastructure, funding and practicality might be too great a challenge to reach those who would most benefit. An online program alone is just not the answer to America’s higher education deficiencies. Sorry George, no national university just yet. But, hopefully, there are some smart people out there trying to make something like it a reality in the near future.

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

Remembering “Spock,” actor Leonard Nimoy

In Entertainment, Movies, National News, Opinion, television, Theatre, Uncategorized, World News on March 3, 2015 at 1:43 pm

DIH LOGO

In 1982, fans of the science fiction franchise, “Star Trek,” more commonly referred to as “Trekkies,” or the more accepted, “Trekkors,” took a kidney punch when Leonard Nimoy’s character of Mr. Spock died at the end of the film “Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan.” But, thanks to the miracle of science fiction, Spock was resurrected and the Starship Enterprise continued to boldly go where no man had gone before.

Sadly, fans must now face a more painful and permanent fact of life as they mourn the passing of the actor who, for nearly a half century, portrayed their favorite pointy-eared alien. Leonard Nimoy passed away on February 27th at the age of 83 at his home in Los Angeles following a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

As a lifelong fan there is no way to adequately convey the sadness of losing such a talented performer whose on-screen character inspired so many. Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew, were great sources, not only of entertainment, but incredible inspiration for individual achievement and social change.

spockNetwork executives originally told Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to, “get rid of the guy with the ears.” But, thanks to Mr. Nimoy’s talented development of the character,  Mr. Spock became a quintessential part of “Star Trek’s” hopeful future in which everyone worked together to eliminate hunger, pettiness and poverty.

Such a vision is still somewhat unique – and often poked fun at – in the science fiction genre, which more often paints a dark, pessimistic outlook for man and a holocaust-ravaged world of tomorrow.  But with Spock’s presence, a bright future for mankind seemed more plausible. In Spock, Mr. Nimoy created the embodiment of chaos with focus, logic with feeling, and understanding with wonder.

I have been incredibly fortunate on a couple of occasions to have had the chance to meet and speak to Mr. Nimoy, as well as see him perform. At one Star Trek anniversary convention I attended, he invited questions from the audience. He chose my raised hand from several dozen other hopefuls seated nearby and I didn’t waste the opportunity.

A bit stunned at having been selected, I stood up and managed to ask something from the original “Star Trek” pilot episode that I’d been wondering about for years. With a genuinely amused laugh, he thought for a moment and informed us that he’d never before been asked about it.

Then, he answered with a detailed, behind the scenes story and directly thanked me when he finished. I will never forget that. Naturally it was cool even to be picked out of hundreds, but I was far more privileged to have given Leonard Nimoy even a tiny moment of entertainment in return for all he’d given us.

Mr. Nimoy played Spock for the last time in the most recent “Star Trek” film, “Into Darkness,” and, although he will be most remembered for his logical alter-ego, he also performed in dozens of other movies and television programs over the years. Besides “Star Trek,” he’s probably most remembered for his time on “Mission Impossible” and, more recently, in the TV drama, “Fringe.”

Besides being a gifted actor, Mr. Nimoy was a director, poet, photographer and activist. In the “Star Trek” animated series Spock is quoted to have said, “Loss of life is to be mourned. But only if that life was wasted.” Clearly, his was certainly not wasted.

Any of us should be so lucky as to have touched even a fraction of the lives Mr. Nimoy did, and in so many positive ways. To all those mourning a loss, remember the burden will ease over time and those we lose really aren’t gone, as long as we remember them. Live long and prosper.

If you would like to know Gery’s convention question to Mr. Nimoy and what answer he gave, read the BONUS MATERIAL at the end of this article.

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

  

BONUS MATERIAL:
Question from Gery Deer to Leonard Nimoy in a talk at the Star Trek 35th Anniversary Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gery L. Deer: Mr. Nimoy, in the Star Trek pilot episode, “The Cage,” you beam down to the surface of planet Talos IV with Captain Pike and a landing party. As you walk around the planet set, you appear to be limping and I wanted to know if you could tell us why? I’ve heard people say it had something to do with your boots, or the set floor, whatever. I just wondered what the real reason was.

Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer in one of the uniforms designed for Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan

Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer in one of the uniforms designed for Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan

Leonard Nimoy: (Laughing) You’ve been worried about that all of these years, why I was limping? Well, I have to say I have never been asked about that before.

(The crowd of about 1,200 in the room was really laughing at this point and applauding.)

Leonard Nimoy: Well, I’ll tell you because I really don’t want you to be troubled by this any longer. (More laughter). If you remember in the story there was some discussion about a fight that had taken place on a planet several weeks prior.

As the story goes, the Enterprise crew was ambushed and there was a battle in which crew members were killed or injured. Spock was supposed to have hurt his leg in that fight. In television and movies, you often shoot scenes and story lines out of sequence and the scenes where the fight takes place would have been in another episode to go before the events in The Cage had Star Trek had been picked up without any changes. Then you’d see Spock get hurt and know why he’s limping later. (Crowd applauds.)

Leonard Nimoy: (Nimoy, looking back again at Gery) That’s why I was limping and now you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Thank you for that question, that was really the first time anyone has ever asked me that. (Mr. Nimoy gives Gery the Vulcan salute and the crowd applauds again.)

END.

 

 

Don’t expect privacy at work.

In Jobs, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on February 23, 2015 at 2:49 pm

DIH LOGOPrivacy issues are some of the most complex problems facing Americans today. At home, we enjoy at least a certain level of privacy, but expecting the same at the workplace is, in a word, unrealistic.

According to information provided on the website of the American Civil Liberties Union, “Back in 1928, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote that the right most valued by the American people was ‘the right to be left alone.’” The site goes on to complain that private businesses are not limited by the constitution since, “the Bill of Rights addresses only state actions.”

In many parts of the country, advanced workplace privacy legislation is still being hashed out and may vary greatly from state to state. The ACLU has spent countless hours and probably just as much money arguing for workers, but, just for argument’s sake, let’s take a moment to see this issue from the employer’s point of view.

privacyNefarious intentions aside, why would an employer want to “monitor” the communications (phone, e-email, Internet) activities of employees while on the job? Usually, monitoring is performed for the security, legal liability and fiscal stability of the company and its employees. They’re not (or shouldn’t be) doing it to check up on your political affiliations or see how many cups of coffee you’re drinking before noon. Honestly, whatever you might think of yourself, your personal habits just aren’t that important.

With regard to using office equipment for personal communication, as a business owner, it’s not the employer’s responsibility to provide workers with the means for private conversation during business hours. Since the company owns the equipment and pays employees for work, he or she should have a right to monitor how it is used. If that seems unreasonable, consider the following scenario.

Suppose you hire a plumber to repair a bathroom drain. He starts work, then after a few minutes, asks to use your phone or excuses himself to use a cell phone to check in with the babysitter. As a compassionate person, you say, “No problem,” and go about your business.

Since he’s within earshot you overhear him fully engaged in a detailed conversation about something the neighbor did to the dog, which drags into a quarter hour, then a half. You are paying the man by the hour to repair your plumbing and, so far, that still hasn’t happened.

As he is in your home (private property, just as a business would be), using your utilities (if he’s using your private telephone) and you are paying him to do so, would you not have every right to monitor what’s going on and ask him to stop and complete his work? Even if he’s using his own cell phone, he’s still doing it on your dime. Does any of that seem fair to you? Of course not, but workers expect employers to put up with this same kind of situation on a daily basis.

The fact is that employees are there to work, not use the office communications equipment to order Christmas gifts online or have extended personal phone conversations. If there is an emergency, there are likely rules in place to cover those situations and provide a means of communication if necessary.

In order to keep personal communications private at the workplace, most experts suggest using your own mobile phone and (this is a big one) leave the premises to do it — at lunch or break time. To be clear, if you want to ensure privacy (from the employer anyway) never use only a phone provided to you by the employer, but a cell phone registered to and paid for by you.

For workers, expectations of privacy are usually outlined upon hiring or they’re included in an employee handbook, which almost no one reads. Otherwise, a human resources professional can answer any of these questions.

Private communication, whether by phone or computer, should be done on personal time, on personal equipment. From surveillance cameras to keystroke tracking software, an employer owns the property of his or her business and expects employees to at least respect that, even if they don’t agree with it. Ω

 

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

A short discussion of time.

In Entertainment, history, Literature, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Science, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on January 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm

DIH LOGOTime is a concept, at least on Earth, unique to humans. No other creature has a sense of time nor do they seem to miss it. When deprived of its constant ticking, however, humans do indeed miss it – sometimes to the point of madness. People can go insane without the ability to follow the hands around the clock, chasing them as if to pursue food or shelter.

But time simply doesn’t exist. With all due respect to clock makers and the people who force you wait incredulously for an hour after arriving on punctually for a doctor’s appointment, time has no basis in reality; none, whatsoever. Oh sure, early man followed the sun up and down and watched moon phases to generate a calendar with which he soon began measuring the march of days. But he (figurative “he,” not intended to slight the fairer sex) is the only creature on the planet that has done so.

Contrary to the beliefs of theoretical physicists and science fiction fans, the “space-time continuum” is, for lack of a better word, hooey. Time travel will never be possible, forward or backward, regardless of whether one climbs into a souped-up DeLorean or a Frigidaire. It’s just impossible to physically move through a “concept.”

GLD_DIH_JAN15_TIMEThe great physicist, Albert Einstein, couldn’t have said it better when he theorized that time was relative to the position of the spectator. Time exists only in a single instant and even then only in the mind of the observer. There is no yesterday; no tomorrow. Man has no future and no past.

“History,” as it is referred to, is merely the recorded experience of one onlooker in a particular moment, captured in human memories, cave paintings, crayon, photos, writings, and now selfies. One cannot pass to and fro through history and every moment is affected by whom or whatever is present at that instant, without exception; otherwise referred to as “causality.”

For creatures with such a self-confident understanding of the passage of time, human beings certainly spend a great deal of it wastefully, ignoring the precious moments that can never be revisited or repeated. Mankind can be so caught up in his own affairs that important lessons whiz right by his primate-anchored brain cells, forcing him to forget to learn from his recorded past.

In youth, human beings tend to feel, somewhat accurately, that time is endless. In fact, since it is nothing more than a concept, time is endless, but the lifetime of the person is what turns out to be far more limited.

Young people burn up their early years in the ridiculous pursuit of high school glory, good grades, the first of a string of hopeless romantic partnerships, and, eventually, trying to get into the latest night spot by claiming to be older. Sadly, none of these efforts generally result in a fortunate use of time, mostly ending in yet another suitcase on the ever overstuffed baggage cart of life.

As the cart grows, letting go of some of that baggage is something with which humans have an incredibly difficult time. Resolving the past often requires thousands of dollars and hours on the analysts couch, but to no end. Life is cumulative, but time isn’t.

Eventually, humans created machines to measure time’s conceptual passing. Clocks are designed to offer a graduated visual representation of the passage of conceptual time based originally on the movements of the sun. In reality, it was the movement of the earth that was being marked.

Clocks and calendars are man’s way of trying to wrangle time to behave the way he wants it to. The fact is, since he created the idea of time, he has had complete control of it all along but never realized it.

Whether it’s being measured or not life goes on. Human beings would be far happier if they spent less time wallowing in the past or worrying about the future.

As hair turns grey and bones go brittle, the clock continues to tick down the conceptual passage of time. But real or not, the most important thing anyone can do is try to appreciate that one, amazing, wondrous moment of time within which everyone exists.

 

The Jamestown Comet.com Publisher / Editor Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at gerydeer.com.

 

 

 

 

Jamestown communications firm adds IT services

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Local News, Media, Technology, Uncategorized on January 7, 2015 at 7:35 pm

JAMESTOWN, OH – Jamestown-based marketing and PR firm GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing has announced it has merged services with its sister company, Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd., as of January 1, 2015 under the new name, GLD Enterprises Communications. The move combines on-site IT and computer support with the firm’s current line of business communications services.

Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. was founded in March of 1998 by Jamestown, Ohio entrepreneur and author, Gery L. Deer. The company provides a wide range of technology support for home and small business users including computer repair, mobile device service, anti-virus and Internet security, document management and digital integration.

Shortly after the IT support business proved to be successful, Deer created a second start-up focused on entertainment and marketing that eventually became, “GLD Enterprises.” Both companies have operated simultaneously, but separately, until some market research indicated how much clients would benefit by the unique blend of services.

Writer, Entrepreneur Gery L. Deer, owner of GLD Enterprises Communications.

Writer, Entrepreneur Gery L. Deer, owner of GLD Enterprises Communications.

“Without our technology to provide us with a means of exchanging information, the rest of our communications material is pretty useless,” said Deer about the pairing of seemingly very different businesses. “We already provide both levels of service to many of our clients. Now it will be more convenient for customers to take advantage of everything we offer.”

Deer noted that his company was one of the first in the area to offer on-site computer service and has never been a marketing arm for a retail company like many of its competitors.  “My goal has always been to make the technology suit the user, not the other way around,” Deer explained. “Most tech support people have stuff to sell and do their best to shoe-horn hardware and software into a user’s life without much regard for how it is used or the needs of the customer.”

Until now, GLD Enterprises has primarily serviced the commercial communications market. But Deer explained that, “By adding the Deer Computer Consulting line of services, we are able to expand into the residential base as well. This adds another revenue stream to our business and allows us to better support our customers, all under one roof.”

According to Julie Hicks, GLD Enterprises business development manager, “Current customers of Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. will remain so with no changes in service or rates. And, as always, we will still come to you.”

GLD Enterprises Communications updated logo. The red circle signifies the addition of "technology support" to the company's offerings.

GLD Enterprises Communications updated logo. The red circle signifies the addition of “technology support” to the company’s offerings.

GLD Enterprises Communications has no store front but operates only as an on-site support service and there are no plans for a change. “Excessive, unnecessary overhead kills small business and the consumer shouldn’t have to pay for the business owner’s extravagance,” said Deer, who is also a prolific business writer and the resident consumer expert for the WDTN-TV2 daytime television program, “Living Dayton.”

A full list of the company’s services is available online at http://www.gldenterprises.net or by calling (937) 902-4857.

 

 

 

 

Xenia rock band to open for national headliner, Bobaflex

In Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Local News, Music on November 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm
Desalitt will open for Bobaflex Dec 5 at Oddbody's in Dayton.

Desalitt will open for Bobaflex Dec 5 at Oddbody’s in Dayton.

At 7PM on Friday, December 5, Xenia hard rock band, “Desalitt,” will take the stage at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Road in Dayton to open for the national headliner group, “Bobaflex.”

Founded in 2008 Delallit features “Blazin” Dave Anderson on drums, Greg Crawford on rhythm guitar and lead Vocals, “Gravy” Shannon Ligier on bass and singing back up, Shug Hanson on vocals, and Nick (Samson) Starns on lead guitar. The group performs a variety of covers as well as their own original work. This is not the group’s first time appearing with a national headliner.

“Being from a small town, it is not every day you get to do something so amazing like open for a favorite national band,” says lead guitarist and Desalitt manager, Nick Starns. “I’ve been a musician for 15 years and counting and love every minute of it.”

Starns is fully immersed in the musical endeavors of his group, which also hosts an annual summer music festival in Jamestown benefiting local charitable causes. “The last 9 months with Desalitt has truly been outstanding for my musical career,” he said. “All that’s left is to start touring with a national act and I can begin to get paid for making/performing music. If Cecil Caudill was still around, he would tell me to keep rocking, so I’m gonna rock the stage for him and all of our fallen Brethren in Music.”

Local fans can take advantage of bus service to the show as well. Desalitt has fan buses available to ride to and from the show for $8 with pick up in Jamestown at 5:30 PM from Greeneview Elementary on SR 72 North, and at 6:00 PM in Xenia at the Old Kmart Parking lot. Riders are asked to arrive early as the bus will leave on time and no refunds are available.

Fans are asked to RSVP for bus service in advance via www.desalitt.com, the group’s Facebook or Reverbnation pages, or email nick@desalitt.com or call the Desalitt Hotline (937) 347-7377. Presale tickets for the Oddbody’s Music Room show are $10 for ages 18 and up (through the Desalitt Hotline), $15, at the door.

For more information and a complete schedule go online to www.desalitt.com.