My Daughter

My Daughter
Remember when you learned how to do this?

Monday, December 31, 2012


Next week is Fathers Day. Today we feature an article in the important role fathers play in the development of their daughters personality, values and behavior.
At a time when the possibility of creating babies without men is no longer solely in the realm of science fiction, and when many children live without their fathers, due to divorce and relationship breakdown, the importance of fatherhood is in serious danger of becoming an antiquated notion. Of recent times, however, there has been some acknowledgement of the great need for boys to have a father, or at least, a father figure, in their lives. Yet little is said of the enormous importance of fatherhood in the lives of girls.
Never before has our culture been so dangerous for girls and young women, and, therefore, never before have girls so needed good, strong and protective fathers in their lives. Our society sends messages to even very young girls through the media, advertising and movies, that being sexy is extremely important. It tells teenage girls that it is normal and healthy to experiment with sex. Girls are in greater danger today of being sexually or physically assaulted, of having an eating disorder, an alcohol addiction, and of being depressed or suicidal than they were 20 years ago.
Dr Meg Meeker, a specialist in pediatric and adolescent medicine, has 20 years' experience counselling girls, young women and their families. She has found that the most important factor in a girl's life is her father. The quality of a girl's relationship with her father has a huge impact on the formation of her personality, her level of self-esteem, confidence and happiness, and therefore on the choices she makes in life. A father has the potential to give his daughter something that her mother cannot.
In her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, Dr Meeker pleads with fathers to recognize and to act on the necessity for them to defend and protect their daughters from "a very toxic, woman-unfriendly culture". She understands from her years of experience counselling teen girls that fathers can do this in a way that mothers cannot. Just in case we need convincing that our culture really is bad for girls, she lists some very disturbing facts:
• 11.9 per cent of females will experience forced intercourse.
• 40.9 per cent of girls 14 to 17 years old experience unwanted sex, primarily because they fear that their boyfriends will get angry.
• There are five to six million new cases of human papilloma virus (HPV) infections annually.
• HPV is spread through sexual contact. Some HPV strains cause cancer. HPV is responsible for approximately 99 per cent of all cervical cancer cases in women.
• If a girl takes oral contraceptives for more than five years, she is four times more likely to develop cervical cancer.
• 35.5 per cent of all high school girls have had sad, hopeless feelings for longer than two weeks.
• Engaging in sex puts girls at higher risk of depression.
• 11.5 per cent of females attempted suicide last year.
Also presented are some facts about the influence of fathers on their daughters:
• Daughters who perceive that their fathers care a lot about them, who feel connected with their fathers, have significantly fewer suicide attempts and fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, substance use and unhealthy weight.
• A daughter's self-esteem is best predicted by her father's physical affection.
• Girls with good fathers are less likely to flaunt themselves to seek male attention.
• Girls with involved fathers wait longer to initiate sex and have lower rates of teen pregnancy.
• 76 per cent of teen girls said that their fathers influenced their decisions on whether they should become sexually active.
Girls today are pushed to be more independent and autonomous at earlier and earlier ages, and parents are afraid of being too protective. In our culture however, girls are vulnerable in many ways that boys are not, and are in need of more protection. Dr Meeker emphasizes the need for fathers to monitor their daughters' exposure to potentially harmful media and also to be vigilant when they start dating boys.
She says: "One in 11 middle and high school students has been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose while dating. Another one in 11 said they were forced to have sexual intercourse. "An astonishing 96 per cent of students report that they have experienced emotional or psychological abuse while dating. Girls are markedly more at risk than boys in every one of these statistics."
It is also true that a girl whose father is protective (e.g., one who sets boundaries and curfews and makes a point of meeting the boys she dates), feels more loved and valued and therefore places more value on herself. A girl who places more value on herself is less likely to engage in risky behaviors  such as casual sex, binge-drinking or taking drugs. It is not enough for a father to be present in his daughter's life; he must also be actively involved in her life. This requires spending time alone with his daughter on a regular basis.
Dr Meeker asserts that it is important for a father to initiate this time spent alone with his daughter because she won't ask for it herself. A daughter wants to please her father and not be a nuisance to him when she can see that his life is busy.
The differences between sons and daughters mean that a father must engage differently with his daughter than he does with his son. "You might spend three hours watching a football game with your son and never say a word — and both of you would be happy. But your daughter isn't wired like that. You have to talk to her." One of the great myths that our society perpetuates is that teenagers need their space. During the teenage years, a daughter needs her father more than ever, and fathers often misinterpret their daughter's behavior.
Dr Meeker writes: "Many fathers complain that their teenage daughters won't talk to them. They're usually wrong. It's just that these fathers have discouraged their daughters from talking to them. Daughters won't talk if they know the result will be only constant reprimand and correction." Often daughters are not looking for anything other than for their dads to listen to them, focus on them and show interest in them.
"If a daughter can trust her dad to listen, she will come to him again and again to talk," says Dr Meeker. It does not matter if a daughter has a higher IQ than her father. He does not need to entertain her. All he needs to do is be with her, listen to her and talk to her. Dr Meeker points out that "one of the primary treatments for girls with eating disorders" is for them to spend more time alone with their fathers. It is also extremely important for a father to frequently show physical affection for his daughter.
According to Dr Meeker, many girls begin having sex with their boyfriends purely because they do not receive any physical affection from their fathers. The simple act of a father giving his daughter a hug should not be under-estimated. A father who tells his daughter often that he loves her is building up her sense of self-worth, enabling her to resist the negative and demoralizing messages she receives from our culture about what it means to be a female.
Many a father withdraws from his daughter during her teenage years or when she is moody and seems to want to be left alone. According to Dr Meeker, this is the worst thing a father can do. A father needs to fight for his daughter, to fight for his relationship with her, especially when things seem to be going wrong in her life. A father who fights for his daughter, to remain a part of her life, will ultimately be rewarded with her love and admiration. Daughters respect fathers who are strong, courageous and protective.
Furthermore, a woman is highly likely to choose a boyfriend or husband based on the qualities, whether good or bad, that she sees in her father. This alone demonstrates the awesome responsibility that comes with fatherhood. There is something very special and particular about the relationship between a father and daughter, which has the potential to protect a girl emotionally, physically and psychologically, as no other relationship in her life can.
Fathers need to trust their own instincts as men. For too long they have allowed themselves to be cowed by radical feminists in their ivory towers and the PC police who say that it is sexist for fathers to be too protective of their daughters. As the evidence in Dr Meeker's book shows overwhelmingly, a protective, loving and involved father can often, literally, save his daughter's life. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Facebook "like" campaigns

The proliferation of so-called Facebook "like" campaigns has become a daily reality for most Facebook users. It's pretty much impossible now to miss these "like" or "share" campaigns, which all follow a similar formula.

On it's surface, these "fund-raising" efforts seem like a near perfect use of social media to benefit the less fortunate among us. A brief search for "like" campaigns reveals many such efforts, which all ask for users to "like" or "share" the Facebook post, promising to donate money to "insert cause here", when a certain number is reached.

This format is so popular, that an entire business model has emerged which teaches people how to create and promote these campaigns

The problem here is that the vast majority of these campaigns are just "for profit" companies exploiting people's  desire to help others.

Here's how it works:

  • Find a person, group or animal in need. (Much more effective if there is a sad photo of the subject available.)
  • Create a website which purports to be a "charity" asking for donations for the subject.
  • Create a Facebook campaign which claims a money donation for the subject if people will only "like" or "share" your Facebook post.
  • Link to your "charity" website which asks for actual donations.
  • Profit!
Here's a current example:


If we follow the instruction on this post we are directed here:

Where we find that almost anyone can create a campaign and receive donations. And this website pockets a reported 5% of your donations.

"Today, campaigns that raise money for medical funds make up about 17 percent of all user activity. Campaigns for school tuition, which make up 11 percent of activity, and those for volunteer trips, at 10 percent, round out the top three use cases.
While it has gotten a slow start relative to some other platforms, GoFundMe has seen 20 percent growth month-over-month since last October. It charges a 5 percent fee for its campaigns and last month pulled in more than $2 million. Based on its current growth trajectory, GoFundMe expects to raise more than $37 million in for 2012."

That's $100,000 profit for this company... in a month. They do this with a whopping 4 employees.

Even if nobody donates actual money, these companies still get paid. Google and other search providers track the number of visitors a website receives. These search engines "rank" the popularity of websites based on the number of visitors you attract. (Among other things) This translates into "page rank" which is used to calculate the relative value of your website. Another important factor in determining PageRank are the website's InLinks. How many other websites link to your website, and what is their PageRank? The higher the linking site's PageRank, the more Rank points your site receives as a result.

I do this myself, right here on this blog.

Here's a shoe ad:

What I don't do is try to trick you...

So these campaigns basically translate our collective good intentions, into a marketing tool they use to promote their websites, as well as their customers. They can sell links to other websites from their higher ranking website for a profit.

If you click through to the linked website for most of these charity campaigns, what you will find is nothing more than a clever marketing scheme designed to leverage this process for profit.

Worse, none of these companies are sending any donations of their own for your "like" or "share". There is also no guarantee that actual donations ever reach the subject of the campaign.

There are some great charities out there which will use your donations to actually help others... but Facebook "like" campaigns are not doing what you think they are.

I would use the word SCUM, but I didn't want to insult actual scum.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A father is a source of strength,
A teacher & a guide,
The one his family looks up to
With loving trust & pride. . .
A father is a helper
With a willing hand to lend,
A partner, an advisor,
And the finest kind of friend.
A Father means so many things...
A understanding heart,
A source of strength and of support
Right from the very start.
A constant readiness to help
In a kind and thoughtful way.
With encouragement and forgiveness
No matter what comes your way.
A special generosity and always affection, too
A Father means so many things
When he's a man like you...
They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

"Entry-level" often refers to gateway positions which allow entry into a company or organization. For a MacDonalds, that likely means "no experience required" to get on board. For a systems integration technology company, entry level likely requires some experience in a specific role... both are "entry-level".

As a 48 year old computer technology engineer in the industry for over 25 years I have worn many hats so to speak. The trick in being successful in your chosen field is to build on your experience & capabilities as part of a larger career plan. Part of that is not getting pigeon-holed into some niche function where you basically get stuck. You become a "hot-house" orchid who can't really exist outside of a carefully controlled environment, which in turn diminishes the potential forks in your overall career plan which will be available to you down the road.

Your ability to effectively communicate the expertise you acquire with others who posses varying degrees of understanding of what you know & are capable of, is at least as important as the skills themselves. Many specialists find after a time, that they can only meaningfully communicate with others equally steeped in their field of expertise, which again will limit the choices available to you down the road.

There really is no substitute for learning your field from the ground up, in a production environment. No amount of academic preparation can artfully simulate what you will encounter in the wild, so to speak. I have hired many engineers, architects, designers etc over the years and always look for the tangible skills I need, learned in practical environments. Recent graduates are great mainly because they are cheap to hire, and have fewer preconceived notions about how things should work... to unlearn. Experienced folks generally bring much of what I need to the table ready to hit the ground running... but they are more expensive to hire and come with the baggage of habits or ideas which may or may not fit our model and must be unlearned. Most organizations need both.

Fear is also a big factor... your fear makes those around you uncomfortable. They will have trouble feeling comfortable that you can be trusted to know what you are doing, and your fear can infect others multiplying the effect. Master your fears... fear of failure, under-achieving, getting fired etc... and I don't mean arrogance. The ability to accept your fear as not only endemic but actually necessary to your role will put everyone at ease and allow you to use that fear in more constructive ways. Sometimes you just gotta say fark it.

Manage your expectations. I have never received a substantial promotion/raise by any other method than changing companies. I have received some incremental promotions in my career inside the same organization, but quantum leaps only by jumping ship. So my "entry-level" job @ $40k/year increased to $45k over time, but jumping to a new position in a new company resulted in a jump to $70+k/year. A few more years and another jump to $102k/year at yet another company... and so forth. Basically for a company it's hard to justify large increases for current employees... why buy the cow? The milk's free... mentality. You will need to jump... and that can be scary.

At some point you will have the chance to create your own opportunities, rather than just seeking the best pre-made match you can find. I currently run 2 computer engineering departments in three different cities and make well into the 6 figure salary range/benefits/ etc... and I do it from my living room. That didn't exist at my company before I got here, but I recognized the opportunity was there and over time created a situation where that made sense for the company & for myself.

The devil is in the details of course, but I'd encourage anyone interested to approach their career path with a fairly broad attitude. You may be the best freakin engineer I ever met, but if you can't show that to me in a way I can understand, and without being a jerk about it, I'll never know it. So... be a broadly educated person with some career oriented specific skills you developed in the real world. In other words... be as good as you can at your core skills and read everything you can get you hands on not from your field. Your primary language is the vehicle which you will use to notify others just how valuable you are. The better you are at this, the more effective you will be in progressing toward your career goals.

Lastly, know going in that bad things are going to happen. You will get screwed, people will be unfair & petty. Bla bla bla... Don't cling to this experience of getting screwed... feel it & then let it go.

If you display quiet confidence in yourself without being a dick about it, people will like and trust you over time. That more than anything is the key to a successful career.

Good luck... it's not as easy as all that sounded, but with a little patience you can do this.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Orleans Jazz Festival!

It's time once again for the New Orleans Jazz Festival!

I have been to this festival many times over the years and have always had a great time. The cultural diversity of this city is highlighted by the wide variety of music, food and fun activities.
Everybody is welcome!
Except for this year... if you happen to be white.
With the Trayvon Martin case fresh in everyone's mind, it's a decidedly less friendly environment than in years past for lighter-skinned visitors. My girlfriend's sister & husband visited there last weekend with some friends, and came back with stories of rude, pushy & even threatening behavior they endured at the hands of resident blacks. If it were an isolated case I would be inclined to dismiss such stories as simple bad luck in running across the odd bigot or two. But multiple shopkeepers, blacks on the street, and even trolley conductors made it perfectly clear that they were not welcome in their city... frowns, hostile stares, refusals of service multiple times & even pushing & shoving left them feeling not only unwelcome, but actually in potential physical danger several times. One visitor commented she would not go back unarmed... if then.
A friend offered me tickets to this coming weekend's festival, which I politely declined. I'm not prejudiced myself, but didn't want to expose myself or my girlfriend to a hostile environment we didn't create and cannot control.
So if you plan to attend the festival this weekend my advice to you is... Don't be white.
Congratulations New Orleans... some of you seem to be uneducated, pathetic losers. I foresee Best Buy losing some flat-screen TVs in the near future.
Enjoy your awful, racist festival... you deserve it.