Why Cleveland Needed Cavs’ Victory


To deeply appreciate the Cleveland Cavaliers championship victory, you had to grow up in Cleveland.

LeBron James, CC0 Public Domain

LeBron James, CC0 Public Domain

This is not just about basketball. It is about growing up in a city that since I was born, has taken too many negative hits.

The Cleveland of my youth in the 1970s and early 1980s was the nation’s laughing stock. As far as sports were concerned, all I heard about was how great Cleveland was. The Cleveland Indians rocked the nation in the 1950s, then there were the Browns’ victories in the early 1960s. It was insisted that the Indians, called the “sleeping giant” would once again become triumphant.

When Cleveland became intertwined with comedians’ one-liners, I don’t know. Some say it was when the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969. Others say that it was terrible choices made by then lampooned Mayor Dennis Kucinich, now a socialist and a former U.S. Congressman.

Others say it is because Cleveland has generated so many comedians, ranging from Bob Hope to Drew Carey, whose television sitcom did not do Cleveland justice.

Whatever the cause, Clevelanders have been on the defensive for decades. To be a Clevelander is to have unmitigated devotion to an underappreciated city. If you lived in Cleveland during the late 1970s and early 1980s, you might remember Daffy Dan’s t-shirts that offered expressions like “Cleveland: You Have to be Tough.”

Or to quote from the song “My Town,” which was recorded by the Cleveland-based Michael Stanley Band, “love or hate her it don’t matter, for I am going to stand and fight.”

Cleveland has had to stand and fight for a lot of things. Just to have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its rightful place, Cleveland had to fight New York City tooth and nail.

As a displaced Clevelander, I still hear negative comments. “The Mistake on the Lake,” is just one of them. The only time I ever received sympathy as a Clevelander was in 1996 when Art Modell sold the Cleveland Browns to establish the Baltimore Ravens. Cleveland was and always has been a sports city, and the nation understands that.

Cleveland was and always has been a sports city,
and the nation understands that.

Cleveland’s economic demise, along with northeast Ohio, began in the 1970s when blue-collar jobs that could support families began to disappear. My father, a strong blue-collar worker, lost his job during that period. We lived off of unemployment for a time and mom went back to work. After dad found a job, we became a dual-income family before baby boomers made it a social phenomenon.

Cleveland made me what I am today, and like LeBron James, I try to give back as much as I can. As the first person in my family to graduate from college, it was Cleveland that began publishing my articles while I was in high school. Later, Cleveland gave me a radio show when I was a business reporter in the mid 1990s. Cleveland made me a tough, resilient and straight shooter, characteristics that do not generally fit well in the politically correct Washington, D.C. culture were I live today, but have made me a respected national journalist.

When the nation focused on Cleveland in 2013 after Charles Ramsey found girls held hostage and abused for years and saved them, the media was amazed by the “tell it like it is” Clevelander. To me, he was just a reminder of what I miss so much about my hometown: unbridled candor.

Celebrating Diversity

Cleveland is its own culture with its own melting pot. Starting off with a northern protestant culture from Connecticut in the 1700s, the so-called Reconstructionist period after the Civil War pushed often unwelcome white and black southerners to the town for work. From the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution to the end of World War II, Catholic and Jewish immigrants from Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Hungry, Ireland and Italy found Cleveland to be their land of opportunity.

Each group had its own community and sacrificed to build their centers of worship, but they also understood that to be an American, they needed to learn English and assimilate. In the 1970s, groups like the Lebanese Christians found Cleveland to be a welcome respite from the brutal realities of war.

In Cleveland, we did not need
intellectuals from on high
to tell us to celebrate diversity
because diversity is just who we are.

Our ears have become so sensitive to mentioning religion and ethnic background that we risk ignoring the cultural realities that shape who we are. In Cleveland, we did not need intellectuals from on high to tell us to celebrate diversity because diversity is just who we are.

In Cleveland, we do not ask someone about his or her nationality to be nosey, but to relate and find a shared acquaintance or place. Other uptight areas of the country, like the Washington, D.C. area where I have lived for the past 20 years, frowns upon such questions and that’s quite a shame. It is must easier to get to know someone in Cleveland than in the nation’s capital.

Cavs’ Victory

Cleveland should bask in its historic victory and party hard as long as possible. Eat, drink and be merry for the republican presidential convention next month presents another mood. Like Philadelphia, which is hosting the democratic convention, Cleveland has been bracing itself for an environment of protest and unrest not seen since the 1968 democratic presidential convention in Chicago. 

Meanwhile, this homesick Clevelander remains an ambassador to the nation’s capital.



Manspreading May Cause Butt Dialing

Courtesy of Mike Lincht NotionsCapital.com via flickr.com

Courtesy of Mike Lincht NotionsCapital.com via flickr.com

The following blog was written by Arlene Miller (a.k.a. the grammar diva) at http://www.bigwords101.com and published here by permission. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Manspreading? Butt dialing? These are real words? Well, yes . . . and no.

The Oxford Dictionary has added 1000 new words to its online dictionary in the latest quarterly update.  Many of these words are slang, such as manspreading and butt dialing.  When words become commonly used, the Oxford Dictionary adds them. Although you now may wonder if such words are now considered esoteric and high falutin — after all, we are talking about the Oxford Dictionary —  think again. The Oxford Dictionary adds words that are in common usage in the English language. However, there is also the Oxford English Dictionary, “the definitive record of the English language.” Although that dictionary is also updated with new words, 500 in the latest update, it is the more formal dictionary. However, both dictionaries are published by the Oxford University Press.

The Oxford Dictionary  – Contains informal and slang words that are common enough to be included.

The Oxford English Dictionary  – Contains new words, but not those considered slang.

Here are some of the highlights of new words added to the Oxford Dictionary:

Manspreading – This word was coined by commuters and refers to men on public transportation who sit with their legs wide apart, thus taking up more than one seat so no one can sit in the surrounding seats.

Butt dialing – Accidentally calling someone with your cell phone in a rear pocket (possibly while you are manspreading).

Awesomesauce Great or wonderful. I have heard this word only on an insurance commercial. I am surprised it is even slang.

Beer o’clock and wine o’clock No, I didn’t make this up. I think you probably decide what times these really are.

Cat cafe – I had never heard of this before my daughter happened to tell me about it a few days ago. Imagine a Starbucks combined with a cat shelter. Yes, this is where customers come to play with cats who live at the cafe.

Brain fart – This one had been around a while and is a temporary loss of mental capacity

Bruh – Used to refer to a male friend and often used as a form of address.

Cakeage –  Like corkage for wine, a charge made by a restaurant for serving a cake they have not supplied.

Hangry – Just like it sounds, being irritable and angry because one is hungry.

Fat-shame – To humiliate someone by making fun of their size. (Now, that’s bullying!)

Fur baby – A pet cat, dog, or other furry animal.

Mx – A title used before a person’s name that does not specify gender.

Rage-quit- To become frustrated with some activity, commonly a video game, and quit in anger.

Rando – A person whom one doesn’t know who is likely acting suspicious or weird.

Redditor – A registered user of the website Reddit.

Snackable – Online content that is easily read and digested.

Swatting – Making a hoax call to  emergency services to bring a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.

Weak sauce – Something of poor quality. This must be the opposite of awesome sauce.

I was going to make you wait until next week, but I won’t! Here are some of the 500 new words that have been added to the fancier Oxford English Dictionary in the its recent update:

  • autotune
  • Blu-ray
  • comedogenic
  • comedy of errors
  • crowdfunding
  • declutter
  • go-for-it (adjective)
  • half-ass (adjective)
  • hardwire (adjective)
  • hot mess
  • jeggings (jean leggings)
  • netbook
  • photobomb
  • retweet
  • sexting
  • staycation
  • tan line
  • twerk
  • -uber (as a prefix)
  • wuss

Lovin’ My Kirby Vacuum

After stripping the Yuletide adornment from my old Christmas tree, I dragged it to the curb, knowing the job was not yet done.

Faced with layers of pine needles scattered about, I considered using my husband’s beloved Dyson. The vacuum repair guy swears it is the best Dyson model ever made.

The miniature wind tunnel housed in the clear plastic mini can, however, had one problem. Layered with inner filters, I didn’t want to risk clogging her up only to have another project: taking her apart, finding an offending object and putting her back together.

Instead, I sought out grandma’s old Kirby vacuum. Having celebrating a 50th birthday a few years ago, Kirby is older than me. She was built in strong industrial Cleveland when a college education was unnecessary for family supporting work.

Made of thick steel with an easy-to-replace but strong fabric bag, Kirby is not as sensitive as the plastic new age vacuums. Like my hometown of Cleveland, she is tough, solid and not pretentious.

My foot pressed down on the floor adjuster, one solid metal click at a time. Unlike the Dyson, she does not have to kiss the floor to do her job. She’s heavier than the Dyson, and I might not need barbels if I used her more.

As I vacuumed, I recalled Kirby’s constant presence in my life, crawling after her as mom navigated it through the living room, pushing her as I grew up, watching grandma maneuver her with seasoned skill…. Kirby has rarely known a man’s touch.

After my nostalgia trip was over, I carefully emptied the pine needles and dust unto an open newspaper. After folding up the debris, I placed the package in my compost bin. I always love it when being green is really just doing things the old-fashioned way!


I have accomplished enough in my career that I am happy
to support my clients’ achievements.

Grandpa purchased Kirby for about $1,000. That remains a lot of dough for a vacuum cleaner, but it was a ton for a AAA insurance salesman in the 1960s. Given that his great granddaughters still use her, it was a fabulous long-term investment. Kirby can now be found on E-bay for about $25 to $75. But that is not the fate of grandma’s vacuum.

Her days are spent resting comfortably in my sewing room with my other grandmother’s Viking sewing machine. Also built in Cleveland, Viking set my other grandfather back $500 in early 1950s, but like Kirby, she is a workhorse built to last into future generations.

Viking is also from a bygone time when sewing was a necessity and not a hobby. She’s near my great grandmother’s treadle machine. Patented in 1886, she was the blue ribbon winner at the Belmont County Ohio Fair. She works without electricity. Talk about being green!

There is something transcending about using well-built, solid metal machines that were once the tools of the mothers who came before me. But unfortunately, I have little time to sew. Meeting real-time demands with disposable technology beckons me away from the past and requires me to adapt to an ever-changing future.

I’m the first person in the family to earn a college degree and the first woman to have a professional career. For my grandmothers, being a wife and mother – which remains a full-time-plus-job – was their purpose. Their greatest achievements were watching their children’s accomplishments, supporting their husbands and being the chief conductor of household affairs.

Like the matrons before me, I now take more joy in the accomplishments of my children than my own. My hard-earned career achievements do not matter to me anymore. In my office, I moved all my diplomas, awards and articles that have been written about me over the years and now proudly display the work of my young budding artists.

I am learning that the less my life is about me and the more it is about others, the happier I am. This applies to my clients as well. I have accomplished enough in my career that I am happy enough to support my clients’ achievements. After publishing more than 300 articles in my name, I am happy to write under someone else’s.

As far as Kirby, I am not the only one who appreciates her. Much to my delight, I found another fan of the Kirby Dual Sanitronic 50 Vacuum Cleaner. You can watch her at work at




Waiting for My New Rolodex

After spending several days awaiting my new Rolodex, Staples just informed me that I need to wait a little bit longer.

Why on earth am I buying a new Rolodex when office software makes our lives more efficient?

Because having a Rolodex works better for me.

Yes, it’s true. I had two Rolodexes but was convinced that having my contacts in electronic address books was better. So I entered in my contacts and pitched the Rolodexes about 10 years ago.

Electronic address books are not working for me because they force my contacts in a stifling format that does not suit my needs. But this is secondary to the feeling of impending doom if I electronically lose all of my contact information.

When I was a full-time workers’ compensation reporter in the 1990s, my Rolodex cards were color coded. Each type of source, including insurance companies, self-insured employers, vendors, actuaries and others had a magic marker-highlighted color.

It was great because when I was starting to work on an article, I would pull sources by color, line them up on my desk and start contacting each one. When I was waiting for a response, I kept the cards in the front to remind me to re-contact folks if necessary. Can Microsoft do that…?

Times have changed. I have so many different types of clients representing a multitude of specialties and industries that color coding will help me jog my memory. Once again, I will be able to pick out sources by grabbing cards of the same color.

When I was a full-time workers’ compensation reporter in the 1990s,
my Rolodex cards were color coded.


My color categories will likely be prospective and current clients and subject matter that include topics including technology, actuarial, workers’ compensation, medical management and others. When a client asks me to do a project, I will be able to pull from my Rolodex cards and off I go.

Yes, maybe it sounds silly considering how much I write about technology. But I know what works for me. I am a tactile person who gets tired of sitting in front of a screen all day. When all contacts have the same format, the ones I am looking for are buried in more easily than 500 names and honestly, I remember details about people more than their names.

Perhaps I just process information differently than others. I still like to read books or pick up a magazine because it is easier on my eyes. I also like to forego email and pick-up the phone and call people. It seems more human and personable.

People laughed when my husband bought me an IBM Selectric, but they now sell for two to three times more. Other people are envious and tell me how they miss the Selectric because there are still tasks better done on the typewriter. (And by the way, I use the Selectric at least once a week.) In fact, typewriters are becoming more popular, thanks to hipsters. They’re also malware-proof.

Given all the security and spying issues that concern companies and consumers, perhaps more people will find themselves unplugging a bit more. Who knows, maybe the Rolodex will make a mini comeback just like typewriters.

Do you secretly miss your Rolodex or never let it go at all? Let me know in the comments section. 








Remembering Our Ancestral Veterans

Alfred Leslie Geddes Sr.When I was a child growing up in Euclid, Ohio, I heard a lot about World War II. I remember when a WWII tank was installed in front of the public library. As children, we climbed up the cool metal rungs and looked inside the tank. It was way cool! The violence that soldiers in the tank faced or how many of the enemy’s camp were killed never occurred to us. But every time we drove down E. 222nd street, we were reminded of our grandparents’ war.

I also remember the vast Memorial Day parade that took place every year in Euclid, in inner rim suburb of Cleveland. Since I was in the marching band, I took part in it for five out of the collective six years I was in junior high and high school.

On the east side of Cleveland back then, bars were as ubiquitous as Starbucks in today’s Washington, D.C. area. It seemed that for every ten bars, there was probably one veterans association. The veterans of polish descent had their groups, as well as the Irish, Italians, Croatians and others. They were proud of their ancestry from “the old country,” but were very grateful for American freedom. They were Americans first and had risked their lives to prove it.

Each group marched, carrying banners or driving in old-time cars. But over the years, the WW II vets died and their experiences are no longer dining room table chats but are limited to books and documentaries.

Sometimes I feel that the way history is taught today,
people really do not appreciate the sacrifices that were made for our freedom.


I did not march one year because I was a high school columnist for the local newspaper and was invited to help with the filming of the parade. I watched my marching band classmates and realized why Mr. Sydow kept admonishing us to march in straight lines — we were lousy at it! It was hilarious to see the band split in half to avoid the spontaneous horse excrement that fell in the middle of the street. But for us, WWII was not part of our experience; it was just something we heard about.

While I knew of my grandfather serving, I also did not know, while sitting in history class learning seemingly meaningless facts, that some of those who served were my direct ancestors.

Two of my fifth great grandfathers fought in the revolutionary war. Both were from Loudon County Virginia and their descendants did not marry until three generations later in Belmont County, Ohio.

Fifth-great grandfather Jacob Lineweaver was Pennsylvania Dutch and new to Virginia. The other was Obadiah Hardesty who was a Quaker but fought in the war anyway. He moved to Belmont County in the early 1800s. From what I can tell by the records, they did not fight together. Lineweaver found himself in Yorktown while Hardesty fought in Valley Forge with the man who became our nation’s first president.

Growing up in the Yankee north, I did not know I had a confederate soldier in my family tree until six months ago. My Great Great Grandfather Henry Gill was among the first to sign up in Richmond and became part of the 1st Virginia artillery regiment. Like many Virginians, he did not own slaves. Like many soldiers, he was fighting to protect his beloved Virginia from northern aggression.

Gill married my Great Great Grandmother Sarah Lineweaver just before the Civil War – or the War of the States depending on your perspective — ended in 1864. She was traumatized by watching General Sheridan’s men destroy every part of the Shenandoah Valley that she never got over it. According to a letter from a distant cousin to my mother 35 years ago, she lived into her 80s fearful of what could happen.

The Valley, once known for its rich fertile solid, was the breadbasket of the confederacy. To Sheridan, destroying all the vegetation and livestock of every farm, and supporting structures such as mills, was a strategic necessity to limit food for General Robert E. Lee’s “rebel” army. The folks of the Valley were rarely slave owners and generally did not support slavery, but that was no matter. They lived in the south and she, like others, never recovered from her experience.

Her husband died in the late 1800s in Wheeling, West Virginia. I have not been to his gravesite, but I suspect he does not have a decoration for his military service.

My mother’s mother knew virtually nothing of this ancestry. War torn Virginia was a poverty zone during the so-called reconstruction era of the south. Some argue the south never recovered from the war while the north grew more prosperous.

I suspect my Great Great Grandpa Gill moved was north to provide for his family and kept his veteran experience a secret to avoid discrimination. He had to find work up north but what Yankee would be sympathetic to his plight?

Sometimes I feel that the way history is taught today, people really do not appreciate the sacrifices that were made for our freedom. I could never do enough to pay homage to our veterans. But what I can do is remember their stories and their place in history. To appreciate where we are today, we really need to understand our history of sacrifice.



LinkedIn’s Top 5 % Most Viewed LinkedIn Profile Complaints: What’s the Big Deal?

linkedin+can+help_1844_800715221_0_0_14009585_300I am not an apologist for LinkedIn, but really, people need to lighten up about LinkedIn’s recent “Top 5 (or 1) % Most Viewed LinkedIn Profile”  complaints.

So many bloggers are complaining about LinkedIn‘s obvious marketing campaign. But I think it’s kinda fun.

LinkedIn supports the marketing efforts of those looking to boost their careers and brand image, and for most of us, for free. Through it, I have expanded my network, boosted name recognition and attracted potential customers.

So what if the company wants to sell more premium services. Hello…LinkedIn is a business. Private enterprise is fueled by the profit motive. It is not unusual for businesses (or drug dealers for that matter) to provide free services or information to lure in potential customers.

In fact, providing quality content for free is the main strategy for attracting customers via social media.

Besides getting a grip, people also need to quit operating under the delusion that their social media contributions belong solely to them. I am not a copyright attorney, but  I remember from journalism school that anything you write (even a letter) is a form of publishing. If people got this they would be more careful with what they write.

They might also be more realistic about the give-and-take of a free service.

And while millions are on the list, there are likely to be a few in your industry. I am glad to see people I know who made the list. It’s another hint for determining my industry’s potential influencers.

Finally, I also appreciate the marketing genius behind the campaign. Whether this marketing campaign aggravates you or not, it accomplished a main goal of social media. It got us to engage!

An Open Letter to My iPad (with Retina Display)

Dearest First iPad,

Everyone said I needed you. Since you would be faster and easier on the eyes, I waited for you.

You were worth it.

For many, you are merely a toy. To me, you are my tool.

I admit it was love at first sight. You were beautiful, fresh and clean. Since I bought you on Black Friday, you have already helped me to be more organized and responsive to clients. Every thought I need to write down, you have recorded.

Before we met, I wrote on paper notepads – with each page having messy handwritten lists. You made it easier for me to prioritize. No longer do I have to re-write my notes or start new lists.

Giving me easy access to just about everything I need, you are a great companion. You will go anywhere with me without complaining. You even ask me, “What can I help you with?”

There is no having to open you and wait for programs to load. Utterly responsive, you are turned on with just a gentle slide. You are there at my beck and call. Even if I abandon you for days, you immediately pick up where I left off. When I switch to another application, you help me remember where I left off.

You are not burdensome and heavy like my laptop. Your screen is cleaner and easier to read. Unlike my cell phone, I don’t have to magnify your screen.


Utterly responsive, you are turned on with just a gentle slide.

But alas, you are not, nor do you claim to be, everything. I want to assure you that I accept you for what you are. While so easy to use, there is only so much I can accomplish with you alone. When I am away from home, you need my cell phone to connect with Al Gore’s invention.

Also, you are not my laptop. For you see, I craft words for a living. To write with you, I have to learn yet another program — and that definitely is not client billable.

Someday your descendents will reflect the union of laptops and cell phones. Know I still appreciate and embrace you all the same.

Ever Loving,


Thanks to extremetech.com

Thanks to extremetech.com