The Public Library Of Charlotte Mecklenburg County Censors An Anti-WordPress Site

  I wasn’t planning on writing about my local library this morning but my hand has been forced by their actions.  I’ve complained previously about their Internet connection in the past and met with some results.  Granted that was after literally years of complaining.  I’ve been meaning to complain about a recent experience in the West Blvd. branch where card playing for money (what you and I would call gambling) was occurring, right underneath the eye of the security guard on duty, and how I still haven’t heard back from the library administration as to why this is allowed by their policy. (That was the guard’s excuse to let it continue.) wordpress™ wank has been blocked by the library.  That’s right.  The leading site that tells the truth about Matt Mullenweg and the sad shape of ethics over at Automattic has been censored by The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. The irony of this is that their own blog is hosted on the wordpress.com servers.  That’s right.  The library who last year tried to get the entire Charlotte community to read and discuss To Kill a Mockingbird, a book that has been censored many times previously, as no problems with censorship and racism themselves. (Which makes for even more irony.) I guess their stated goal of “of expanding minds, empowering individuals and enriching the community” doesn’t apply when it concerns a vendor of theirs.  Can’t empower individuals when you deal with a company that believes discussion shouldn’t be open. Can’t strive to make information available to anyone who wants it when that information is locked away behind an Internet...

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Getting Paid to Ring the Bell

Yup, it’s almost Christmas time again. Where has the year gone? I’ve already started thinking about ringing the bell for the Salvation Army again this holiday season.  This makes the sixth year I’ll be doing so I believe. And, yes, I get paid for doing so.  Before you get upset about that, I’ll point out that what I make gets used to keep me going and afloat.  I don’t make much during the year and most of the other bellringers, many of them area homeless, don’t either. Not sure where I’ll be this year.  I’m shooting for the Macy’s again since there’s a library near by and it’s a location I can walk to without much issue. What got me thinking about this, besides some of my local clients asking about it, is this recent post about bellringers.  The following is the comment I left about my experiences.  I copy it below since it appears to be a WordPress blog and I don’t want to lose the comment due to any Akismet censoring. Just to clarify, some of the bellringers do get paid for their time.  I’m one of them.  Being a three time stroke survivor, my doctors will allow me to do little physical labor.  While I do a little webhosting and consulting that pays the rent and medical bills, this barely covers my expenses during the year.  I actually look forward to the 6 weeks with the Salvation Army every year as 1) it gets me out of the house and in the public interacting with folks and 2) what I earn myself helps me out greatly.  Most of the rest of the bellringers are area homeless men and what they earn helps them out as well.  New clothes and shoes, leasing a storage locker for a year, a new radio, bus passes for a few months, presents for their own children, etc. are some of the things that these men buy with their money. Not every market is like this.  They do it like this way here in Charlotte every year because there aren’t enough volunteers to cover.  One a typical day, we have 60-100 spots with buckets with maybe 1 or 2 manned by volunteers.  Saturdays are better but still there’s less than a half dozen groups. Most folks assume that I’m a volunteer.  Many of the bellringers fool folks into believing so but if asked, I tell the truth, explain why I do so and mention the lack of volunteer coverage.  There’s usually some shock when I first mention that I’m paid.  Either that or an assumption that I’m actually a Salvation Army officer who’s just out of uniform.  After taking the time to explain, I’ve yet have a single person get mad at me though. I have two beefs though.  The first is the Target situation.  I’m assuming that the company you discuss in your post is Target.  Most folks praise WalMart for allowing the Salvation Army to contain to ring in front of their stores but this isn’t cut and dry.  Five years ago, they were allowed to ring each and every day during the season.  Last year, we had a total of 5 days.  I’m not privy to numbers but this is thousands of dollars lost in their fund raising.  Next time you visit a local WalMart and notice there no one is ringing, please take the time to mention your displeasure that they days have been reduced. The other beef I have is with folks who brag about their bellringing.  I’ve lost count how many times I’ve had to listen...

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Free Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny’s – 2/3/2009

This just came my way.  It’s being reported that Denny’s will run a commercial during the Superbowl offering a free grand slam breakfast on February, 3rd, 2009.   Haven’t seen much in the way of sites promoting this and I’m not going to be able to watch the Superbowl tonight.  Would love to hear back from someone if they see it on television.  We actually have a Denny’s here in Charlotte.  Well one left, just north of the city. Here’s the copy: Every guest from 6AM – 2PM on Tuesday will receive 1 free Grand slam, and 1 free coupon book with 8 coupons in it. Each coupon book has 4 BOGO’s, 2- 25% off coupons, 1 coupon good for free dessert , and 1 coupon good for a free order of pancake puppies. Each Denny’s in the US received 1,000 of these coupon books to hand out to guests on Tuesday who order a free Grand Slam. Per Denny’s Corporate every store also received 500 Grand Slam rain check coupons. Denny’s has instructed each manger to hand these rain checks out good for a free Grand Slam to any guest who can’t wait. Denny’s spent 3 million on the Super Bowl ad, and tons more on a full page ad this coming Monday in USA Today. They are taking this very seriously and instructing all stores to staff as if it’s a major Holiday and for the staff to be as friendly as humanly possible. Commercial during the SuperBowl will announce this. And don’t forget that we’ll have iHop’s Free Pancake Day on the 24th as well. edit: This has now been confirmed.  A copy of the commercial is after the fold if you want to view...

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2009 National Pancake Day – February 24th

Here we go again. Get your free short stack of pancakes at iHop on February 24th.  They do ask you to consider making a donation to support local children’s hospitals through Children’s Miracle Network, or other local charities. (Tipping the wait staff would probably also be a plus.) The one I usually go to doesn’t go along with this promo but there’s a couple more around Charlotte that I can try. Discovered from here. I wonder if anyone will see...

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Ringing a Bell For the Salvation Army

Well, I’m ringing a bell this year for the Salvation Army this holiday season.  It’ll be the 5th year I’ve done it in the last 6.  It’s not a great job but it;s better than nothing, it helps folks out this holiday season, and will hopefully put a few bucks in my pocket.  We start on the 22nd. It’s going to be really bad this year and I have to admit that I’m a bit concerned. Wal-Mart is only allowing the bellringers outside their stores for a few days this season instead of every day like they did when Target stopped allowed the kettles. (But yet, no one is reporting on that.  Hmmm…) That’s a big chunk of change that the Salvation Army isn’t going to get.  There’s also five less days to rind as well this year.  Another big chunk gone. But yet the Charlotte Salvation Army has something like three times the number of children signed up this year over last for their Christmas gift program.  And they’re still signing families up.  We do get some idiot bellringers who steal out of the kettles.  I wonder if they’ll ever realize that they’re stealing from little kids. And yes, I do get paid. Have to admit that I’ve always been bothered by that as I wish I could do it for free but what money I do get really helps me out, gets me caught up on my medical bills, and gives me a bit of extra cash for the first few months of the new year.  We’re lucky to get maybe 4 or 5 local volunteer groups on Saturday every week that’ll handle 4 or 5 of those buckets.  Of course we have nearly a hundred every day for six days a week.  Without those who get paid, there really wouldn’t be any kettles out there and no money would get raised.  Necessary evil I guess. If you would like to stop by and say hello, most days I’ll be at the Macy’s at South Park Mall here in Charlotte.  I’ll most likely be on the side towards Morrison Blvd on the back side of the mall.  Sounds like a rather poor location but I usually do fairly well out there.  If you feel like bringing by coffee, I won’t complain. (Cream and sugar please.  Carmel shots would be a plus. ) Have to admit that I’m wondering how I’m going to eat for the first week or so.  Not sure if folks remember but I live off a very small check that I get at the beginning of the month.  I won’t have any money for those first two weeks and, since I won’t be doing any volunteering, I know I’m not going to be getting any food from them.  Not looking forward to it. The Shirley Temple picture is from here.  I wanted to use this picture but there’s a big old copyright on it with no permission to reuse. Oh well.  At the very least, I can link to...

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Why I Don’t Like The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County

Yes, that’s the Google website from here at the library.  The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County system can’t find it.  The most popular website on the net and their system is telling me that it doesn’t exist. I’ve been complaining about their poorly setup system for over a year with no response.  In fact I’ve gotten to the point that I’ve complained about their comment form on their site and wondered why they even bother having it since no one ever answers it. It’s not just me either.  I’m sitting here with three over folks using their laptops and they get the error from time to time.  About 1 in 15 page views on average.  If I turned around I could watch those folks using the terminals hit the same problem.  If you sit here and just do CTRL-F5 refreshes on a site you’ll get it often as well. What’s even worse is they keep winning “Library of the Year” awards from librarian organizations but yet they can’t fix this issue or even acknowledge it exists. It’s really...

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Photos from Newell Presbyterian Church

I met a very nice young lady by the name of Rachel at the free breakfast over at Newell Presbyterian Church this past Sunday and she took some pictures for me. (Actually I think her mom took most of the group shots.) Gallery I’ve gotten a chance to sort most of the other photos as well. I need to sit down and write descriptions though for them some time soon.

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Under the bridge at 6:20am

I‘ve mentioned a number of times that I do work with some of the area organizations that work with the area homeless.  I took this picture this morning under the bridge as both volunteers and  neighbors were waiting for the supply van to show up.  It’s 6:20am in the morning, it’s still dark, directly overhead is I-277 that loops around the uptown area of Charlotte, and it was something like 30 degrees this morning. I would have taken more but the batteries died in the camera. (I’ll explain more about that later on.) I just wanted to share the...

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Someone asked for a picture…

Gotta admit that I hate doing pictures but I had someone send me this one from when I was on the first train out of the station when the LYNX light rail system started on Nov. 24th.  Even beat all the higher ups who were supposed to be on the first train. (Not sure why.  We started at the 7th Street Station while they started at the Transit Center.) Got lucky as well.  Had just finished helping Calvary Church serving breakfast to the homeless that morning.  I was walking over to CPCC to use the library and the train was just sitting there. Got a t-shirt out of it at...

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Charlotte Transit Kills Another Person

Taken from here: A man was killed Sunday after he was hit by a light rail train. It happened just before 8 p.m. Charlotte Area Transit System officials tell Eyewitness News that the man was sitting on the tracks at the corner of South Boulevard and Old Pineville Road. Investigators are trying to figure out why the man was on the tracks. They’ll be reviewing on-board video from the train to help in the investigation. Not the first person to die at Charlotte Transit’s hands either. (But my Google searching is mush today and I can’t find any...

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