Wednesday, August 25, 2021

FACTS AND MORE FACTS

As a journalist I depend on others to fill in facts and figures; fiction is so much easier, it just has to SOUND right! (just kidding)

 

That's why I will often send queries to actual, formal Press Offices, because I want to know that what I am writing is accurate. I don't know why but especially in the more recent years I find that Press Offices don't always bother to return a response. I would even appreciate a "Sorry, we can't release that information…" or "We don't have the answers you are looking for…". It's frustrating to wait on an article simply because the experts you went to have decided to remain quiet.

 

Yeah, I am complaining. With all of the misinformation that gets spread around lately, I really would like to know that what I am typing at least borders on the truth. I never quote a particular source unless I receive permission to do so — so there shouldn't be a reason to be afraid to answer. I just want to be sure that if I am, let's say, giving a step-by-step of auto repair, that I am actually getting it right. (I would hate to refer to "the thig-a-ma-jig" just to find out that the car doesn't even have one!)

 

We all, myself included, have complained about journalists who can't seem to get their facts straight. Well maybe this is part of the problem, the folks we turn to for information are not at all forthcoming. Now I won't tell exactly which sources haven't bothered to respond, but I will say that at least some of them actually have the words "PRESS OFFICE" in their titles. It would seem to me that if a reporter needs information, a Press Office should be a good place to start.

 

Okay, enough complaining… I have to start writing an article on very little confirmed information. I will do my best to research other sources and will strategically use terms such as "it appears to be" or "a few sources intimated that it was". I will do my best to inform as honestly as possible.



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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!

 

All the junk e-mail we get sometimes crosses the line of ridiculous offers. It is a well-known fact that SOME of the links we get in junk e-mail might be dangerous – possibly to malware or even just getting your name/e-mail on yet another junk mail list. And yes, it is very annoying.

 

But then… then you have the totally obscene junk e-mail with, of course, links to click on. These are the ones that are peppered with 4-letter profanities in the heading, or vulgar description of body parts and what "someone" would like to do with said body parts. Or there will be an offer to help make your "appendage" sooo much bigger!

 

Call me na├»ve but I don't see the point in many of these emails. And even if I weren't already wary of clicking on unknown links, I would NEVER, EVER click on links in one of these uninvited and unwelcome solicitations — and I am sure that I am far from the only person wary of such unknown links.

 

So, what is the purpose, really, of these e-mails? Is someone somehow getting their jollies from sending such obvious filth to unsuspecting individuals. I'm not stupid enough to believe these are offensive to everyone or gullible enough to think that NO ONE ever clicks on these, but I honestly can't see how anyone can truly expect a high rate of success with such emails?

 

By the way, if you hover your cursor (on your computer) over these links you will often see the places you would be sent to — just DON'T click on it. Many of the alleged emails are disguised to bring you to unsavory URLs. So even IF they seem to have authentic and recognizable logos, chances are the sites are as phony as that 15-inch long ### they are promising you!

 

Even if you get a sudden e-mail about winning a contest you've never entered, be very wary. Don't click on links. Don't fill in your personal information. Don't download mysterious offers. Just delete, delete, delete if you don't recognize the sender, if you find a phony link, if it's smut, or if you have to download your "offer" just to find out what it is.

 

It's sad, but it is so much better to be cynical and protect yourself and your computer.



Wednesday, August 11, 2021

CONNECTIONS

Our always-on-social-media, while there are downsides, has the ability to reach out and communicate at a needed time. Sometimes it may not mean much for someone to have a virtual stranger wish her a Happy Birthday, but then maybe it just might be the lift she needs to get through today.

Scroll through platforms like Facebook and people share heartaches and disappointments, brag about accomplishments, offer condolences, share jokes and any myriad of emotions. Users announce the loss of loved ones, and ask for prayers, or say thanks for being there when you were really needed.

PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE. We all need interaction with others. We need to vent, to ask for advice, to offer and accept virtual hugs, to complain about the weather, and so much more. Especially after this past year when so many were in near complete isolation, social media and visual apps were the things that helped to keep folks in touch with others.

It may not seem like much when social media acquaintances post a GIF or Meme to help cheer you up, but it does have the ability to make you feel as if someone cared. Many of those who post condolences, encouragement, congratulations or support may only be expending a few moments and a few keystrokes — but they are spending those few moments ON YOU. Someone took the time, their precious time, to let you know that someone is out there.

Next month is National Suicide Prevention Month. There are several reasons why some attempt, or unfortunately succeed, at committing suicide. Among the reasons for suicide, loneliness is one of the major factors. Whether you pay a visit, make a phone call, or simply make it a point to remember someone on social media, you could make a crucial difference in their feelings of loneliness and of being forgotten.

You may be that person’s reason for getting through today and hopefully tomorrow.

If you ever feel the need, or know someone else
who is contemplating suicide,

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

OR

Text GO to 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor through Crisis Text Line, a global not-for-profit organization. Free, 24/7, confidential.

 


 

 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

ONE BAD APPLE

 

What does 'One bad apple' mean?

Meaning: The full form of this proverb is 'one bad apple spoils the barrel', meaning that a bad person, policy, etc, can ruin everything around it.


Unfortunately the human tendency is to see THAT ONE BAD APPLE and assume that the entire barrel is ruined. Even if there are no other bad apples visible, it leaves a negative feeling. Marketing experts will tell you that ONE NEGATIVE can spoil so much of the good that has come before; they go on to explain that, on the average, you need TEN positive impressions to erase that one bad one.

I read a newspaper article the other day where a volunteer fire fighter was arrested on SUSPICION of theft in his department. Every so often we hear of such accusations... please bear in mind that many of these accusations never reach indictment much less conviction. (Yes, sadly there are some that do).

Of course the townspeople start wondering how "honest" all of the members of their first response agencies are; they ask pointed questions about previous fund drives; they wonder how safe it is for a volunteer first responder to enter their homes. And no matter the result of the investigation, the next needed fund drive is severely depleted.

Understand that First Responders are usually the FIRST people to show up and give needed aid when someone dials 911. Also understand that there are many, many First Response agencies that are VOLUNTEER organizations and this means that the people who run to your aid, giving up their own family life and sleep, and often putting themselves at risk, are not doing this for pay or other benefits — most of them are good hearted people concerned about their neighbors.

According to a February 2020 report there are approximately 750,000 VOLUNTEER Fire Fighters, some of whom are also EMTs and Paramedics. New York State alone has more than 65,000 EMS providers consisting of many volunteer and paid personnel. The training to become an EMT, or any of the other steps in EMS ARE THE SAME whether the individual is a volunteer or paid service member. Obviously the numbers are astronomical and the FEW cases of accused wrongdoing are a mere percentage of all the honest people out there.

Definitely someone who is found guilty of criminal misdoing needs to be brought to task. But please do not judge a whole department based on what may be an unproven act — let the authorities investigate properly and take whatever necessary actions are appropriate. But PLEASE do not condemn a whole agency or field because of that "one bad apple". Your First Response agencies, especially the volunteers, need your support so that they can be there when you need them.

You can help all of the volunteer emergency service agencies by volunteering and making donations for their vital operations.