Monday, July 31, 2006

Mugging the Public

Debtors' Hell | Part 2 | A court system compromised | Boston Globe/
Today, we have eight pages out of Boston, on issues we have yet to see trotted out in Cleveland. Are we as a society developing a class of people who are permanently indentured? Here's a sampling.

Russell Engler, a professor at the New England School of Law who studies the way people are treated in civil court, said unrepresented parties often get steamrolled. While it can be tricky for clerk-magistrates and judges when only one side has a lawyer, he said, those are precisely the cases in which court officials should act to redress the imbalance.

''You have a system that is supposed to be accessible to ordinary people,'' Engler said. ''Instead, it's operating as a swift tool for corporations with power and with lawyers.''

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Debtors' Hell, part 1 -- great investigative reporting, from Boston

Debtors' Hell -- Debt Collection -- GLOBE writers have served up a great bit of investigative reporting in this first of a series of four articles. Over at Callahan's Cleveland Diary we were talking the other day about similar financial abuse people in our area suffer at the hands of Ohio Savings, and one of the cadre of local flacks dismissed the case as just too commonplace. Some guys will come up with any argument to avoid doing serious work, even in their chosen vocation. Well, folks, we haven't seen such great investigative reporting here yet, but maybe it's time for the blogosphere to start talking about the seamy underside of MBNA and the predatory and whorish paper-buying practices of Javitch, Block. Here's a sampling of what comes out of Boston--read all seven pages:

The Goldstones, as debt buyers, are part of a growing trend that has transformed the collection industry. As the number of deeply indebted consumers has climbed, credit card companies and banks have become increasingly likely to sell off their uncollected accounts in bulk. Purchased by large debt-buying companies, the accounts are then repackaged and re-sold to smaller and smaller firms.

Daniel W. Goldstone, at his collection agency, Norfolk Financial Corp., was disbarred this year. In 1996, a federal judge determined he had bilked a client out of more than $800,000.
(Read court documents related to this case here.) (Globe Staff Photo / John Tlumacki)
Debt collector Daniel Goldstone is rebukedby federal judges and ordered disbarred by the SJC
By the time local companies such as Commonwealth and Norfolk pick up this kind of ''stale'' debt, they are buying it on the cheap from firms that have tried and failed to collect. It is their opportunity to make a profit but it also presents a challenge. ''How can [they] be successful where those who went before weren't?'' said Nicholas F. Ortiz, a consumer lawyer with a lawsuit pending against Norfolk Financial. ''That's where we come to seizing cars.''
Chad Goldstone said the debts he buys are typically one or two years old, although Commonwealth lawsuits examined by the Globe were often for credit card debt that was four or even five years old. Goldstone said he pays 6 or 7 cents on the dollar for the accounts he buys - $60 or so for a $1,000 debt - and generally collects 18-20 cents on the dollar.
Both brothers file nearly all their lawsuits in small claims because the filing fee is capped at $40 and judgments come with greater speed and ease. Chad Goldstone, with a staff of only six, estimated he sues as many as 7,800 people a year and almost always prevails - largely because more than 80 percent of the people he sues don't show up in court. ''People ignore the letters and the phone calls, and then we get a default judgment. That's an ostrich mentality,'' he said.
Or, he added, it's a ''game of chicken,'' in which Commonwealth keeps up the pressure until the holdouts give in, scraping together a negotiated amount, to avoid having their cars taken, or to get a vehicle back.
Daniel Goldstone has filed nearly as many lawsuits as his brother - about 22,000 over the last four years. And he appears to have resorted to car seizures at least as often

Gloria & The Bloggers' Boswell

In the years we've been running around together, Gloria's always been a good sport. I know that some of you may be thinking at this point, "Yeah, she has to be, with him." Anyway, regardless what those inner voices are saying now, here she is, stepping up to Anthony's new idea of interviewing the interviewers and reporting on the reporters, as he begins to carve out his niche as The Bloggers' Boswell.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pogue does Wonkette

Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog--I always got Wonkette confused with Smurfette, so this Pogue piece is useful. Note what she says about the Gawker guy and the old-school revenue model.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

do Columbus-ites (?) hustle more than Clevelanders?

We've noticed that in the Columbus area, at least near our offices in Worthington, the people get rolling at 0600 instead of holding back to the 0700 standard you see around here, the cases in point being the coffeehouses. Ruthie and Mo's used to accommodate early breakfast at 0600 for a select few, but now Ruthie has shut the place down.

Where can you go in this town to conduct early breakfast meetings at 0600 any more?

24-hour establishments in NE Ohio

I don't get around much any more. This is a list of what I know is open for business 24 hours a day in this area. I have it arranged in ZIP code order. Please help me update it by posting your additions or other emendations in the comments. I'd like to add in truck stops, too, and up and down I-90 and I-71, for instance--any place you can go to eat, drink, talk, or conduct business on a 24-hour basis.

Pizza King
10 Seminary Street
Berea, OH 44017
(440) 234-2525

My Friend's Deli
11616 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 221-2575

Steve's Lunch
5004 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102-3356
(216) 961-1460

Rapid Stop
1712 East 55th Street
Cleveland, OH 44103
(216) 361-9660

A. J.'s Donuts
12409 Mayfield Road, Little Italy
Cleveland, OH 44106-1929
(216) 791-3272

Dianna's Deli & Restaurant
1332 West 117th Street
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 521-9393

Common Grounds Cafe
17104 Lorain Road
Cleveland, OH 44111
(216) 252-4768

Dimitri's Family Restaurant
10945 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44111
(216) 252-3636

Steak 'n Shake
17325 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44111
(216) 688-1086
other locations at

Amy Joy Donuts
5076 Mayfield Road
Lyndhurst, OH 44124
(440) 442-9733

Denny's Restaurant
6100 Rockside Road
Independence, OH 44131
(216) 524-7088
other locations at

Expressway Diner
5109 Memphis Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44144
(216) 741-2227

Seattle's Coffee House
131 North Market Street
Wooster, OH 44691
(330) 262-2998

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

a treasure trove of philanthropic articles

Philanthropy - BusinessWeek Online--I just ran across this collection of articles and tables this morning. Last night, as I called the police, again, to get order restored on West 38th Street, I kept asking myself, Where are the priests and the social workers these days? About all I knew is that they weren't out there in the middle of the street with me. The piece by Drucker sheds some light on why this may be, and how we can correct the situation.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Chuck Barris lives!

Whatever happened to Gong Show host Chuck Barris?--This guy's enthusiasm and irreverence have always been contagious; he's the one who gave us "Jean, Jean, the Dancing Machine" and a totally new, manic pacing altogether for variety shows. We can still learn a lot from him. He certainly could get things rolling.

building out the networks: Bloggapalooza

Network Weaving: Un-Weaving Networks II: "Disrupting terrorist networks is a good thing -- we want to dismantle their networks. But is it a good thing to do with your neighbors and fellow citizens? Political polarization is an effective election strategy, but it just makes us weaker as a group to our foes. Weaving together perspectives and people here at home, and with our allies, makes us much stronger to any and all enemies."

Valdis has some valuble insights at the link above--I wanted to revisit his new blog space after having run into him yesterday at Bloggapalooza, where we were able to get a glimpse of how built-out our MTB (MeetTheBloggers) network was after a year. I was quite pleasantly surprised--it's big, it's solid, it has depth, and everybody's moving in consonance. If this sounds cryptic, it is; I'm just beginning to get my head around what it is that has a hold on us here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

podcasting the net neutrality debate

Callahan’s Cleveland Diary » Blog Archive » WCPN net neutrality debate on podcast--Click through to the middle of the linked post to hear Bill Callahan set the record straight on net neutrality. The guy shilling for the broadband boys (the soon-to-be-disenfranchised phone companies) isn't terribly straightforward or honest--lots of weasel words--but Bill ferrets him out.

Callahan & net neutrality on 90.3 at 9 AM today

Callahan’s Cleveland Diary » Blog Archive » Net neutrality on 90.3@9 today: Henry, AT&T, and me:
From our neighbor Bill Callahan:
"I’ll be a guest on WCPN’s interview/call-in show, 90.3 at 9, tomorrow [sic] morning.
The topic: Net neutrality.
Other guests: Henry Gomez of the Plain Dealer and someone from AT&T.
The show’s live from 9 to 10 am at 90.3 FM. The call-in number is 216-578-0903. Please call and ask an incisive, technically sophisticated but understandable question."

Connie Schultz: The Blog

The Blog | Connie Schultz: We Are Not Afraid | The Huffington Post
From two weeks ago. Schmaltz. Then, & now. Age does not improve lots of things.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Eminent Domain Alert!

Anything you who read blogs can do to help increase the volume on this post and the traffic on this blog (Save Our Land )would serve our community and our state well.

Remember that this shabby confiscation may be happening merely to the people on West 44th Street, in Cleveland, now, but it may be you and your neighbors next. We hear from good sources that our Eminent Domain Task Force here in Ohio is not coming down on the side of the individual citizen or individual rights. We cannot treat this as an isolated incident or play down its seriousness. Eminent domain and an arrogant government were made for each other, and they're operative here.

I had never considered this topic before...

Top Ten Gay-Friendly Cars--Quickly read the article, then click on the slideshow to see the countdown--that odd Toyota clown car at #2 is probably the only one I would have a real problem owning, especially since its name rhymes with my last name, and people would report sightings of "The Ferris Yaris" all over town, and especially if I painted it pink, and blasted "Macho Man" over subwoofers filling the entire back seat. The temptations are just too great. I must abstain.


I just got this heads up: The actuaries & the insurance home-office boys and girls are getting into the podcasting business. What they lack in appeal, they make up for in money. They can afford to spend a lot to do a splendidly professional job podcasting things of marginal interest to a small community, or audience. MTBeware?

A.M. Best's E-Fusion Podcast Explores Corporate Podcasting at MassMutual E-Fusion Conference

OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 17, 2006--MassMutual's experiences in corporate podcasting are highlighted in the latest edition of the E-Fusion Podcast, released by the A.M. Best Co.
In an audio interview, Larry Cowles and Denise Szczebak of MassMutual's corporate podcasting team describe how they helped launch this communications channel within their organization, where it's working and what they've learned from the experience. MassMutual's podcast series helps deliver timely news and information to its wide-reaching network of agents and offices.
Cowles is one of the presenters at this year's E-Fusion Conference, set for Oct. 23-24 in Boston. The two-day conference focuses on developments in insurance technology, insurance issues and operations. Part of the conference involves finalists making presentations for the E-Fusion awards. The awards, which are independently judged, seek to recognize innovative uses of insurance technology.
In conjunction with the conference, A.M. Best Co. has launched a new podcast series focused on insurance technology and the E-Fusion conference. The audio series covers technology developments, conference details and the E-Fusion awards. Each episode includes an interview with technology leaders associated with the E-Fusion conference.
Links to listen to and subscribe to the E-Fusion podcast are available at Conference information is available at
Massachusetts Mutual Insurance Co. is rated A++ by the A.M. Best Co.
A.M. Best Co., established in 1899, is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit A.M. Best's Web site at

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Orchard Park: A "Tabblo" by our friend Frank

Orchard Park, Cleveland, OH--Frank Mills and The Urban Repair Project are walking about and talking about our local neighborhoods. Here's the pictorial product of a recent couple of strolls, apparently in the mode of the flaneur, in a new arrangement called a "tabblo."

the demographics of color, made easy

Building Design & Construction - The Demographics of Color - 6/1/2006 --Here's a fascinating little research piece about color, but the layout is a little biffed. It should be--
1. Eco-inspired colors
2. Calming colors
3. Industrial colors
4. Information Age colors

--From our friends in Chicago...

Susan Miller phrases it nicely

dance video of the day REALNEO for all--I'll be conscious now of my movement as I rise elegantly, regally, from my chair to get another cup of coffee, my flowing blogger bathrobe trailing behind me as I pass the air conditioner, slightly past noon. I will be aware. I will try to temper my theatrical side. I really appreciated what Susan said here, sort of along the lines of "what oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed."

Click through the link to see a side of me few seldom do.

Monday, July 17, 2006

making the distinction: investment advisors versus brokers

Financial Advisor Magazine: "At least one company has already probed investor attitude’s regarding investment advisors versus brokers.
A survey conducted by TD Ameritrade earlier this year found that 43% of investors were not aware that stockbrokers and RIAs provide different levels of investor protection. This compares to a prior survey in 2004, where that figure was 41%.
The survey, which involved interviews with 1,000 investors, also found that 51% of investors were unaware that brokers are not required to disclose all potential conflicts of interest before providing financial advice, according to TD Ameritrade.
Only 26% of investors were aware that only investment advisors have a fiduciary responsibility to act in a client’s best interests, while 51% incorrectly believed both brokers and advisors were subject to the requirement, according to the survey.
Public comments on the SEC’s draft proposal are due by July 19."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pollock, conservation, & the unconscious

At Jackson Pollock’s Hamptons House, a Life in Spatters - New York Times--There's a lot in this travel piece out of the NYT--abstract expressionism, land conservancy, an art show, the phenomenon of the supportive spouse, the last great real estate deal in the Hamptons. We were just talking about Pollock the other day, and how we needed to brush up on his life and his work. Here's a start.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office

Download details: Office Add-in: Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office--Heads up on this update from July 11th:

This add-in enables you to embed a Creative Commons license into a document that you create using the popular applications: Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office PowerPoint, or Microsoft Office Excel. With a Creative Commons license, authors can express their intentions regarding how their works may be used by others. The add-in downloads the Creative Commons license you designate from the Creative Commons Web site and inserts it directly into your creative work. Creative Commons supports a number of languages. To learn more about Creative Commons, please visit its web site, To learn more about the choices among the Creative Commons licenses, see--

Happy Bastille Day, Mes Amis

Bastille Day - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


wenBLOG--Does Jimmy DiMora have a blog, too?

For the Ingenuity Festival: Check the RTA

The RTA Trip Planner is the one thing that enables me to ride the bus and the rapid with confidence, since I rarely have a routine route. I've been saving on downtown parking, walking a bit more, enjoying the architecture, and catching up on reading. Show your own glimmering genius by riding the bus or the rapid down to the Ingenuity Festival some time Thursday through Sunday. Have you ridden a bus lately? Do you know how? I had my refresher course just this year. Join us as we all get to know our city better. If you're coming in from the outside, there are a good number of Park -N-Ride locations and rapid stops and stations.

Network Weaving: Un-Weaving Networks II

Network Weaving: Un-Weaving Networks II--In case you aren't aware of Valdis, Jack, and June and their new blog, I wanted to direct your attention their way. What they do is critical to understanding the way things work in our communities; they shorten the learning curve.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gearlog : D-Link's Wi-Fi Phone: Oh My!

Gearlog : D-Link's Wi-Fi Phone: Oh My!--More convergence.

"Don't have VoIP yet, or just plain tired of using those pesky headsets to make Internet calls? Then you may want to opt for D-Link's Wi-Fi Phone. I bet tons of people have been waiting for this!
DPH-540 (in black) and the DPH-541 (in silver) Wi-Fi Phones ($249.99 list) let you make and receive calls through an 802.11g or 802.11b wireless network with high-speed Internet access. So basically, you can use it at home, hotels, parks, airports, Starbucks or just about anywhere there is a wireless connection. You'll also be able to receive calls for free from regular phones via PsipTN technology (availability by August 2006 via firmware upgrade and 1-Year free subscription is included). Each phone measures 1.9" x 1.0" x 4.5" and weigh 0.5 lbs.
Features. Large, bright color LCD screen; Displays call history, address book entries, and caller ID numbers; Supports redial, mute, hold, and text messaging; 2 Soft Keys & 4 Directional Keys; 16MB Flash & 12MB SRAM of memory.
How It Works. The phone uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) which works with an VoIP phone service plan. "For accessing secure wireless networks, the Wi-Fi Phone supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption. With features like echo cancellation, packet delay compensation, and lost packet recovery, you can expect the voice quality from the Wi-Fi phone to be similar to traditional phones calls."
Why get VoIP service? Well, it can reduce local and long distance telephone charges. Right now, my mom pays around $80 for her AT&T phone service. She's going to cancel her landline soon because with all of the alternatives out there (i.e. digital phone, VoIP), why spend all that money?

‘Pit Bull’ of the House Latches On to Immigration - New York Times

‘Pit Bull’ of the House Latches On to Immigration - New York Times--QUOTATION OF THE DAY
"Sensenbrenner is a pit-bull. And the Senate negotiators he’s up against are wearing Milk Bone underwear."
REPRESENTATIVE RIC KELLER on the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who is in talks with the Senate on an immigration bill. "
Interesting article. Dog allusions abound. Kotex millionaire. Pithy quotes. Entertainment value. Sleeper issue of immigration is in play, and it's only July.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Investors Lead Home Sale Boom in New Orleans - New York Times

Investors Lead Home Sale Boom in New Orleans - New York Times--There are unexpected dynamics at play here. See whether you can figure it out. What's your own house worth calculated at $50 a square foot? $100?

Taking a Peek at Prewar Classics - New York Times

Taking a Peek at Prewar Classics - New York Times--People now go to The City to engage in "architectural tourism." We used to go there for Saint Patrick's Day & revelry.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Vonage SoftPhone & TAPI & the Windows Phone Dialer

A few days ago, I added a SoftPhone to my Vonage account, the standard, older X-PRO version from XTen Networks, and I think it's really nifty, but I am easy to please. I am a primate, after all.

Anyway, it is a digital arrangement. I want to use the Windows dialer with the softphone, on a machine that has no hardware modem. The dialer, I guess, likes to work with things that are analog, not digital, and have something to do with TAPI. I have tried installing a virtual modem and a SoftPhone version of Xten's X-PRO TAPI, and I can't get the Windows dialer to work with the SoftPhone yet.

Am I trying to do something impossible?

Save the Internet » Blog Archive » Stevens Telco Bill Teeters Under Public Scrutiny

Save the Internet » Blog Archive » Stevens Telco Bill Teeters Under Public Scrutiny--Apparently there is a God, and he is operative in the affairs of men, so far. Good post to update you on the net neutrality issue. Take a walk through the whole blog to catch up--some big names are weighing in. This is having the effect of uniting a community, and it's interesting to see who the members are and will be.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Casinos Are Shut in Atlantic City in Budget Crisis - New York Times

Casinos Are Shut in Atlantic City in Budget Crisis - New York Times--Look at this article about New Jersey gambling, and its chart. See the "nonessential" state employees? Is there any talk about these gambling-required extra employees in Ohio, and their concomitant cost, in the Ohio gambling equation with all those rosy numbers and hypothetical big-bucks promises swirling around the Earn and Learn campaign? Are we missing a critical piece of the puzzle, one which will make financing-through-gambling even less attractive, and more burdensome, than it already is?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cambridge immigrant sanctuary policy criticized - The Boston Globe

Cambridge immigrant sanctuary policy criticized - The Boston Globe: There are a number of interesting issues swirling around here. It reminds me that Dr. John Green, in his recent MTB session, thought that immigration was the sleeper issue in the senate race in Ohio. Read the whole article and give it some thought--there's a lot there to ponder. An excerpt--

"The billboard campaign is another sign of how the debate over illegal immigration is increasingly being played out at the local level, in this case over sanctuary status of cities. With Congress deadlocked, cities and towns are increasingly taking on the issue themselves. Some, including Burlington, Vt. , Maywood, Calif., and San Antonio have moved to declare welcomes for undocumented immigrants.
In some cases, declarations of cities and towns as sanctuaries explicitly state that local law enforcement officers should not involve themselves in immigration matters . Other declarations have been less specific expressions of support for the causes of undocumented immigrants.
Cambridge's May 8 declaration, which renewed a sanctuary city designation first established in 1985, called for a moratorium on immigration raids by federal authorities pending comprehensive reform, affirmed the human rights of undocumented immigrants, and condemned legislation passed by the US House in December that would crack down on illegal immigration.
Nelsen said he would like to expand the campaign to target other cities that have declared themselves welcoming to immigrants.
``It's outrageous that these localities can just decide they're going to opt out of the law of the land,' Nelsen said."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


SustainLane Overview--Look here at the recent sustainability rankings of 50 cities, and what that all might mean.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Council president sees no conflict issue for adviser he hired

Council president sees no conflict issue for adviser he hired--There are a few wise thoughts here from our Akron friend John Green, and a few doofus ideas from Lesic, Sweeney, Cimperman, et. al.

I think we're missing another point with this story, besides the appearance of impropriety. The other point is that we as taxpayers should not be spending $48,000 a year to publicize Council's machinations. We should know them by their works, the City Record, the Sun Newspapers and the PLAIN DEALER should suffice for getting the word out, and we shouldn't need what Norm Roulet calls a "PR-stitute" to massage the result of their actions before it all hits the fan, or the public.

If elected representatives at the city level feel a need to "shape council's message and polish its image," they should attend to that by their own behavior, or, being incapable of that, pay for PR services and coaching out of their own pockets, not out of the public purse.

Looked at another way, having our city government pay a retainer to Nancy Lesic is the equivalent of having the federal government pay a retainer to corporate lobbyists. We here in Cleveland are subsidizing our local real-estate developers still another way: We're helping pay their relationship builder.

This doublespeak and doublethink has to stop; it's why the city is as sick as it is. Let's start by tuning up the thought processes of Sweeney and Cimperman, before they give away still more and compromise us irreparably.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

City of Cleveland - News and Press Releases

City of Cleveland - News and Press Releases --This is not merely a dubious distinction--it is an atrocity. It is shameful to continue to build new, tax-abated property when old property which can produce taxes continues to go vacant or unrepaired or unrewarded. Conservation and thrift are unknown around here, as are an appreciation for a rich heritage. The bogus hypothetical numbers haven't worked, and it's time to pull the plug on this blatantly political scam which continues to wound a once-vital city. Read on--use the email links to register your disgust (((note that the consulting firm uses AOL for its email))):

Community Development
Joseph Skrabec, Community Development (216) 664-4597
Trista McClelland, CRM Development Research(216) 696-5442 ext.

News Advisory

Cleveland maintains 1st place ranking in new housing construction

June 28, 2006 – City of Cleveland officials working with Calabrese, Racek, and Markos, Inc. (CRM) Development Research today announced that Cleveland issued a total of 50 new for-sale residential permits during the first quarter of 2006, the most in Cuyahoga County and the eight-county region. The second and third cities in Cuyahoga County were Westlake with 27 permits and Oakwood with 19.

"This is further evidence that, together, we can create neighborhoods of choice in the City of Cleveland," says Mayor Jackson. "Cleveland has a lot to offer. We want to make sure developers, potential homebuyers, and everyone in Cleveland knows that we are a great City with quality affordable and market-rate housing in our neighborhoods."

CRM Development Research is a subsidiary of Calabrese, Racek, and Markos, Inc., a full service appraisal firm. This division monitors market activity for new residential development throughout the Northeast Ohio region.

For more information on the City of Cleveland's new home construction, please visit or call 216-664-2869.


When Do We Publish a Secret? - New York Times

When Do We Publish a Secret? - New York Times. Interesting treatise on journalistic ethics. We can all learn something here, especially those of us who blog.

South End of Boston - New York Times

South End of Boston - New York Times--great piece on Boston, with lots of linx & pix. This was my adopted city in the 1960s; it has a lot to teach.

The Black Coat » Blog Archive » Soccer

The Black Coat » Blog Archive » Soccer--Interesting take from Jay Yoo--
"I think the US economy will go as the popularity of soccer goes in the country. It’s a sport that demands constant pace, creativity, stamina, luck and global recognition. Also, the stigma around soccer players is that they are rebels (well grounded to become innovators in my book). Interestingly, it’s the only game that is exactly as long as the natural length of most meetings (Peter Drucker stuff). No more and no less. As an entrepreneur, time is everything. I know exactly when the game will start and when it will end (+ 10% max). Very little advertising and distractions. It’s all about the game. I love it. "

ABC News: Pa. Man Sues Over Web Site Comments

ABC News: Pa. Man Sues Over Web Site Comments: "Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, an attorney representing Joseph, said the site is no different than the proverbial coffee shop where people go and chitchat.'
'You would never think of holding the coffee shop owner liable because other people went in and defamed other people,' Rodriguez-Taseff said. "

Here's an interesting legal case in which the defense attorney compares blogs and coffee shops, casting both in the roles of vehicles or mediums/media.

A Pen That's More Than Meets the Paper - New York Times

A Pen That's More Than Meets the Paper - New York Times--I always wondered how these things worked, and the article gives a lot of practical applications. I need to think now how this might make our business practices better, or good, or best.

AOL Said, 'If You Leave Me I'll Do Something Crazy' - New York Times

AOL Said, 'If You Leave Me I'll Do Something Crazy' - New York Times: "When Vincent Ferrari, 30, of the Bronx, called AOL to cancel his membership last month, it took him a total of 21 minutes, including the time spent on an automated sequence at the beginning and some initial waiting in a queue. He recorded the five minutes of interaction with the AOL customer service representative and, a week later, posted the audio file on his blog, Insignificant Thoughts (
Shortly thereafter, those five minutes became the online equivalent of a top-of-the-charts single."

Here we have another manifestation of the power of blogs. Click through to the sound file, but be sure to read the whole NYT article and the comments on the blog itself and also on The entire package is incredible.

"To listen as Mr. Ferrari tries to cancel his membership is to join him in a wild, horrifying descent into customer-service hell."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Possible demise of popular Davis Square coffee shop sparks outcry from customers - The Boston Globe

Possible demise of popular Davis Square coffee shop sparks outcry from customers - The Boston Globe: "Regulars at the coffee shop in Davis Square express outrage"--Interesting story about a "caffeinated triumvirate" and how a neighborhood perceives and values its "third place."

Yearning to Put Papers Back in Local Hands - New York Times

Yearning to Put Papers Back in Local Hands - New York Times: "Newspapers are the soul of a community and they should be locally owned, Mr. Broad said one recent afternoon on the 12th floor of an office tower here overlooking acres of million-dollar homes. And that is why he would like to see The Los Angeles Times, now owned by the Chicago-based Tribune Company, acquired by a group of local organizations, including his own $2 billion foundation.
'A newspaper can provide a power base,' he said. 'If a publisher wants to get things done, they can get 30 of the most important people in the room. It's even more important in Los Angeles because of the diverse geography. I would see owning the paper as a way to get people more engaged from all parts of the city.'"

What do you do when that same paper abdicates its responsibilities? That's the problem we're trying to solve around here with blogs. Listen to Eli--he was visionary when it came to SunAmerica and independent advisors. His ideas from the '90s are being borne out now. I think he has his head screwed on right. Read the whole article.