Friday, February 16, 2018

A lifetime in business is paying off Chris Miles, 33, started his first company at age 12

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20141220135407/http://articles.philly.com/2004-02-13/news/25375191_1_philadelphia-business-journal-computer-bulletin-board-father

Posted: February 13, 2004

Chris Miles is all business. It has been that way for almost as long as he can remember.

The resident of Medford Lakes started his first business as a 12-year-old, and he has been employing people since he was a student at Shawnee High School.

Now 33, Miles is president of Miles Technologies, which designs software and provides computer and Internet services to small and medium-size companies.

His firm, which he founded in 1997 in part by mortgaging his and his mother's homes, generated $3.1 million in revenue in 2003. Three times, it has been listed among the 100 fastest-growing private businesses in the Philadelphia region in surveys by Rowan University and the Philadelphia Business Journal. In 2000, the trade publication listed it No. 1.

Miles recently moved it from Marlton to a 28,000-square-foot commercial center in Moorestown anchored by Cornerstone Bank. He owns the building. He paid $1.8 million for it.

Not bad for the product of a broken home who as a boy had no contact with his father for 10 years.

"It's definitely no surprise that he's the success he is," said Drew Wagner, who went through Shawnee with Miles and remains a close friend. Wagner, a physical education teacher at the Medford school, said that with Miles, "there's no doing something halfway. It's all or nothing."

Miles, who has a wife, Cindi, and a young daughter, Sierra, makes no bones about his obsession with success. Growing up the youngest of four children in a single-parent home, he had a "drive that was destined to make me a workaholic. From the time I was 14 years old, I knew that what I wanted to do was own a successful company."

His first business was a computer bulletin board where he posted weather and stock information as well as tidbits on the Beatles, still his favorite band. He charged an annual fee of $5 and had 150 subscribers.

Miles turned to computers "because I was looking for something to make me feel good."

His father, Michael, had left when Miles was 4, and his mother, Joan, worked cleaning houses to make ends meet.

"There was never a ball thrown to me as a kid," Miles said. "I knew I had a void because of my father. By working hard, I could get accolades - much like a kid who played sports."

Miles and his father, who lives in Delray Beach, Fla., reconciled when Miles was a teenager after an older brother reestablished contact. "My father basically said to him that he could feel sorry for himself for the next 20 years because his parents made a mistake, or he could go forward. Eventually, I got a call from my brother. He said, 'I have someone who wants to talk to you.'

"After that, I wanted to visit my father; my mother paid my way," Miles said.

His experiences growing up shaped the way he is today - a perfectionist who demands much from his 33 full-time employees. He does have outside interests; Miles enjoys boating and playing guitar. But business "is what I like to do," he said.

"I know that Chris as a younger kid was working when other kids were just out playing," said company vice president John Bialous, another friend who met Miles at Shawnee. "When you grow up with a father, they do a lot for you, which is nice and good and all. But Chris was kind of his own father. He taught himself how to do everything."

At 17, Miles bought a lime green truck for $700 and started Majestic Design, a construction company. He and his 10 to 15 employees repaired and built docks and bulkheads around the Medford-Medford Lakes area.

Later, while earning the engineering degree he received from the University of Delaware in 1993, Miles started a window-replacement, roofing and siding business in Delaware. He employed more people.

"When I was 20 years old, I had an employee handbook," he said.

Miles got into his current business almost by accident. Because he knew a lot about computers, people often asked him for advice. One day, someone who had been referred to him called, and "at the end of the conversation, I said it would cost $100 an hour." His first client readily accepted. Miles Technologies was born.

It was not an easy birth. "I wasn't Donald Trump starting with $10 million," Miles said. In addition to using $120,000 from the refinancing of the two homes, he accumulated $147,000 in credit-card debt.

"I paid off all my debts in two years."

He said he had never entertained the thought that that wouldn't happen.

"There's no way to work as hard as I work and not eventually succeed," Miles said. "I just can't envision that happening."

Contact staff writer Rusty Pray

at 856-779-3894 or rpray@phillynews.com.


Information Overload A niche market is sprouting to help deal with accumulating data.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151222142841/http://articles.philly.com/2006-03-13/business/25414757_1_knowledge-management-laptop-science Posted: March 13, 2006

Now that he works for Miles Technologies.com, salesman Edward Nallen notices how immaculate his car is.

Oddly and delightfully so - for a salesman who schleps his office in his backseat as many salespeople do.

"I literally had cartons and cartons with files and papers," he said. "Now I carry a laptop and that's it."

In a messy world, Nallen's desk is remarkable for its emptiness:

No order forms, no piles of client files, no message pads. No blank contracts. No reports.

FOR THE RECORD - CLEARING THE RECORD, PUBLISHED MARCH 14, 2006, FOLLOWS: An article in yesterday's Business section about companies' grappling with information overload mischaracterized an industry expert's definition of knowledge management. Jonathan Spira, author of Managing the Knowledge Workforce, said knowledge management is a component of the $60 billion U.S. market for "collaborative business knowledge," which also includes search tools, e-mail programs and document management.

No clutter. No nothing.

Well, maybe one photo.

Nallen doesn't have a file cabinet, and there's no copy machine in the sales office or even in the building.

The Moorestown company's 55 employees share two printers, one on each floor, which don't get much use. Nallen prints out travel directions - because powering up the laptop while driving wouldn't be safe.

Nallen now lives what he sells: Miles Technologies.com is a $6 million company that helps companies go paperless. Miles designs the strategy, sells the necessary software and equipment, and provides service and training.

"You can't say you should go paperless if you don't believe in it," Nallen said. His only sin is a stack of business cards hidden on top of the computer processing unit under his desk. Soon he'll enter them into his laptop.

At Miles, bosses raise their eyebrows when they see mess on a desk. "We're not real tolerant of a lot of paper and clutter," said John Bialous, the vice president and chief operating officer.

Founded in 1997 by former civil engineer Chris Miles, 35, who discovered a gift for the efficient use of technology, Miles Technologies.com is a tiny sliver in the multibillion dollar business of knowledge management.

Just as individual workers cope with the onslaught of information that crowds e-mail in-boxes, file cabinets and desktops before spilling into piles on the floor, companies must also manage ever-increasing amounts of data.

Knowledge management, a growing discipline, encompasses information science and library science, as well as sociology and group dynamics.

Information science is the often technical aspect of how firms capture, store and retrieve knowledge. Library science deals with labeling and organizing knowledge so it can be found and used.

Knowledge management uses both disciplines in strategizing how to share knowledge - both explicit, as in facts, and tacit, as in cultural or philosophical understanding. It considers which workers need what knowledge at what time and from whom for maximum collaboration and profitability.

Business consultant Andrea Hornett, a senior lecturer at Penn State's Great Valley campus, said that knowledge management is becoming the key to competitiveness in a global economy.

"The philosophy or notion that is undergirding this development is that in a globally dispersed economy where capital flows quickly, all the traditional ways of competing - efficiency or cost or design - are easily adopted by competitors any place on the planet. Labor costs can also be outsourced."

What counts, then, she said, "is how can we manage our knowledge. What are our areas of know-how that we can offer? If we are focusing on what we know, how can we identify it, transfer it, acquire it, share it, store it and retrieve it?"

How big is the business?

Jonathan Spira, author of Managing the Knowledge Workforce: Understanding the Information Revolution That's Changing the Business World, estimates that the knowledge-management market will top $60 billion this year in the United States.

It includes 22 market categories - everything, he said, from document-management hardware and software to teleconferencing equipment. Also included would be search tools, e-mail programs and portal design - the way individual workers enter and interact with their companies' electronic repositories of data, explained Spira, chief executive officer of Basex Inc., a knowledge-management consulting firm in Manhattan.

"We're really in the first throes of the knowledge economy, and we really haven't figured out how to manage it yet."

Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Medford Lakes teen is successful singer and songwriter By Celeste E. Whittaker

CC Miles of Medford Lakes sings and plays at her home recently. The 14-year-old released an album and video last year and has another album in the works.
(Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)


Source: https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/2016/05/18/medford-lakes-teen-successful-singer--songwriter-taylor-swift/84550142/

May 18, 2016


CC Miles attends Shawnee High and had her first album and video released last year.


MEDFORD LAKES - CC Miles has a smashed guitar in her bedroom closet.

It’s crushed and unusable but she keeps it there as a reminder. She broke it when she fell onto it one day. She sleeps with her guitar.

CC's guitar, like her singing and her electric piano, is a part of her now. Music is a passion and the driving force for the 14-year-old singer, songwriter and musician who hopes it'll be part of her career as well.

“A lot of times I’m in my room and my guitar basically lives in my bed,” said the Shawnee High School freshman, as she sat on a stool in her home music studio on a recent rainy Tuesday afternoon. “It’s something that’s always here. Even if I don’t make it big, I’ll always have my guitar.”

One of her songs, “A guitar and a dream," captures that connection.

The teen with a smooth, melodic voice, started singing when she was 6 and took up piano lessons around the same time. But a few years ago, CC got really serious with piano and guitar lessons and now plays both during local appearances at bars, restaurants and coffee shops, performing original music and cover songs.

“I wanted to start playing instruments so I could accompany myself out while I was playing at bars and stuff,” CC explained. “I love listening to music. I love how other people inspire me and I feel like I just want to inspire other people through music, too.”

Her father Chris Miles, who is heavily involved with her career, takes her to gigs and oversees things. He said at one point she was doing more “karaoke” type things, “but she got tired and wanted to play it just on her own.”

Things have picked up since then for the Burlington County teen. A year ago, she released her first EP — “9th Street” — a six-song album available on iTunes and Spotify. The video “9th Street,” which was shot at Long Beach Island, was also released last summer and has over 5,000 views on YouTube. Another EP is in the works.

CC Miles of Medford Lakes plays the electric keyboard and sings at her home studio. The Shawnee High School freshman has an album under her belt and another in the works. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

In a typical week, CC stays busy with music lessons.

On Mondays there’s singing or guitar lessons with Sal Dupree in Linwood, Atlantic County. She's gone from 5:30 p.m. until about 11 p.m. with those lessons. On Tuesdays she records YouTube videos of cover songs. Wednesdays are for open mic night at the Flying W. Piano lessons with Ajodah Seenarine of Camden County are on Thursdays and Fridays are for live sets at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub in Cherry Hill, Coffee Works Too in Voorhees or the Java House in Collingswood. Saturdays and Sundays are for practice.


It’s a pretty heavy schedule for a young girl, but she loves every minute of it. The support of parents Cindi and Chris make a big difference, CC explained.

“Do I push you to do this?’’ her dad asked. “Who pushes you?”

“I do,” CC said. “He’ll tell me, ‘If you ever don’t want to do this just tell me.’ I’ve even gotten mad at him sometimes. Why would I be doing all this if I didn’t like it?”

This is the cover photo of CC Miles' first album entitled "9th Street", which was released last year. (Photo: Photo provided)

Chris Miles worked with his daughter on time management and teaching her to focus when she started taking music more serious. CC also has to balance that with her schoolwork and the need to be a teen.

“It definitely takes a lot of time,” she said. “It’s not really a thing where I say, 'I have to go practice for an hour.' It’s more like 'I want to learn this song or that song.'”

Miles explained the first time CC performed in public was when she was about 4 years old at a singing competition he organized to help raise money for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

“There were other kids competing,” said Miles, founder and CEO of Miles Technologies with headquarters in Moorestown. “CC happened to be there. She got up and sang a song. That was the first time she ever sang something in public.”

CC Miles of Medford Lakes plays the guitar at her home studio. The singer and songwriter has one album out and another she's working on now. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

Though her father dabbled with the guitar as a youngster, no one in her immediate family is musical, so CC's not sure where her drive to pursue it came from.

Meeting singer Taylor Swift at the star’s concert in East Rutherford in July of 2015 certainly didn’t hurt.

CC, a friend and a cousin wore all white clothing, then splattered themselves with paint. They held up a sign, which read “The rest of the world was black and white but we were in screaming color," lyrics from a Swift song. It all caught the attention of Swift’s mom, who selects concert goers in the crowd to meet Swift.

“She’s amazing; I don’t think I would be as far as I am today without her,” CC said of the ultra popular star. “She has helped me so much and inspired me so much.

“I can’t pinpoint my exact memory of when I decided this is what I wanted to be. I always remember I used to watch 'Hannah Montana' and I wanted to live a double life. I wanted to be like her. I thought it was so cool. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Celeste E. Whittaker; (856) 486-2437; cwhittaker@gannettnj.com

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

How to streamline your digital life By Shannon Eblen

Source: https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/life/2016/05/18/streamline-your-digital-life/84068600/

May 18, 2016

Spring is a great time to clear out your digital clutter and make sure that you're adequately protected against hackers. USA TODAY


It seems spring may finally be here to stay, a season many welcome by deep-cleaning and sprucing up their home or office.

One thing that may be overlooked is the trusty computer.

“As tech keeps advancing and getting faster and faster, the more stuff people are juggling,” said Greg Gurev, the founder and “Head Sherpa” of MySherpa in Wilmington, Delaware.

Computers and other digital devices require care and attention to run smoothly. From email to computer updates to cyber security, most people could probably be doing more to streamline and protect their devices.

“One big thing right now is security,” said David Suleski, the president and founder of TechStarters in Cherry Hill. “You don’t want to be the low-hanging fruit.”

TechStarters supplies various IT services for businesses, and in his years of managing website and social media and maintaining computers, Suleski has seen it all.

One of their businesses in Haddonfield once complained a form on their website wasn’t working. Suleski went into the website to pinpoint the problem.

“Immediately, we saw there was a script that said, ‘If the IP address is within 100 miles of this location, show this site; if it’s outside, show this spam site.’ These people had no idea and wouldn’t have had any idea. That’s one form of a website hijack.”

One key thing, Gurev said, is to never let someone else use your computer.

“If you have a kid, don’t let your kids use your device,” he said. They could accidentally delete documents from a parent’s computer or expose the device to malware or a computer virus. He would rather see a child use their own gadgets, he said, with parental supervision.

Suleski and Gurev both recommended CCleaner to clear out old operating system files, downloads and cookies from computers to reduce vulnerability to malware.

Often, Suleski said, you don’t know the malware is there until it’s too late, and the system starts running slowly or malfunctioning.

Attorney Thomas B. Reynolds and David Suleski from Tech Starters chat in their Marlton office.

Reynolds & Horn P.C. in Marlton is one of TechStarters’ customers.

“From day one, as a busy litigation firm, we’ve needed computer assistance,” said attorney and partner Thomas Reynolds. “Everything we do in the office is run through the computer system and a lot of it is beyond my expertise.”

TechStarters helps them with website support, keeps their computers running smoothly and protects them from viruses. Problems go directly to TechStarters, saving the law firm time and energy while keeping their system secure.

“I, personally, am getting less junk mail than before,” Reynolds said.

Be wary of web hosting services that also offer email services, Suleski said. “Email should be on email servers and websites should be on web servers.”

To streamline your email, set up rules to automatically sort incoming messages. This will keep non-urgent messages from over-crowding your inbox.

Most email programs will automatically sort spam. If spam ends up in your inbox, be sure to mark it as spam, but be responsible and don't mark legitimate emails. If reputable businesses have their emails marked as spam too often, it can slow their servers and create other problems, Suleski said.

Avoid clicking on links in emails, especially if you don’t know the sender, Gurev said. Make sure your settings don’t automatically download images in your emails, a trick spammers use to verify email addresses, and don’t sign up for newsletters that could sell your information or be hacked. Mac or PC, computers are vulnerable to email viruses.

“They’re not hacking your computer, they’re hacking you,” he said.

Gurev compared it to driving. “You have to expect that everyone approaching you is going to do the wrong thing. That’s how the Internet is, you have to be a defensive driver.”

If you do click on a link and get a pop-up, Gurev recommended repeatedly pressing the Alt and F4 keys together to shut down computer programs without clicking on anything else, then running CCleaner, or Malwarebytes.

And with the threat or ransomware, which encrypts files and asks for hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars to decrypt them, it is smart to make sure all of your documents are backed up.

Gurev and Suleski recommend a cloud service like Carbonite. Unlike hard drives or USBs, the cloud storage can’t be stolen or destroyed in a house fire. Though Suleski still backs up files on both a hard drive and Carbonite, or another reputable cloud service.

“Redundancy is key,” he said.

Keep that cloud password — and all of your other passwords — safe with a password manager.

“You probably hear about less than one percent of security breaches,” Suleski said. A password managing program not only stores passwords for different sites, but helps to create stronger passwords, the kind that are difficult to remember.

It’s true, he said, that the most commonly used password is “password.”

Gurev recommended OnePass or Dashlane.

Just don’t forget the primary password that unlocks all other saved passwords, or you’ll be locked out of your own system.

Lastly, to keep your machine running smoothly, take on some of those updates you’ve been ignoring. For security-related programs, Gurev said, do the updates as required.

But if other programs are working well, don’t feel compelled to update the software, especially just for a few new features.

“It could be buggy, it could run slow,” Gurev said. “The installation may go afoul and it may gum up your machine.”

For programs and apps you don’t use, go ahead and get rid of them. Deleting those will feel good, Gurev said.

Just like taking out the last bag of trash from spring cleaning.

Shannon Eblen: (856) 486-2475; SEblen@gannettnj.com

For more information

MySherpa, visit mysherpa.com.

TechStarters, visit techstarters.com.

MORE CYBER SPRING CLEANING TIPS

1. Check (and change) your passwords

The more complicated and lengthy a password is, the harder it will be for hackers to guess. Long and random combinations of letters, numbers and other characters work best. Don't include your kids' names, birthdays or references to any other personal details that people might find on social media. Hackers routinely troll Facebook and Twitter looking for clues to passwords like these.

Obvious and default passwords such as "Password123" are also bad, though experts say it's surprising how often they get used.

Regardless of how tough your password is to crack, it's important to change it at least every few months. And don't be tempted to recycle an old one. The longer a password sits around, the more likely it is to fall into the wrong hands. You should also avoid using the same password for multiple sites, so that a break of your school's PTA site wouldn't lead hackers to your online banking account.

Multi-factor identification — which asks users to enter a second form of identification, such as a code texted to their phone — will provide additional protections at services that offer it.

Think that's too hard? Many experts recommend password-manager services such as LastPass or DashLane. They remember complex passwords for you — but you have to trust them. Last June, LastPass disclosed "suspicious activity" and told users to change their master passwords.

2. Back it up

There's a growing threat of ransomware, where a hacker locks down a computer and threatens to wipe the data if the owner doesn't pay up. The attacks often stem from malicious software, which can result from clicking on a link in a phishing email or fake online ads.

Because you have little recourse when this happen, it's more important than ever to back up your data.

You can automate this. Services such as Carbonite let you continuously back up your files to the Internet for a monthly fee. Mac and Windows PCs come with tools for backing up to external drives. It's called Time Machine on Macs. On Windows 10, look under "Update & security" in the settings. On Windows 7, try "System and Security" or "System and Maintenance." Make sure you unplug the drive after each backup, so that malware doesn't creep into those copies as well.

3. Keep your software up to date

Whether it's a new iPhone or an ancient PC, software updates are critical, as they fix flaws that could otherwise give hackers a way into your device. This applies not just to operating systems but to common apps like browsers and media players. Better yet, turn on the auto-updating feature that most software now comes with. Dump software that you no longer use or that's no longer updated. That includes Apple's QuickTime player for Windows, as Apple no longer supports it.

Don't forget about your wireless router and your assorted "Internet of things" devices such as smart TVs and thermostats. While some devices may automatically do this or let you do so through a phone app, consult your manufacturer's website for older devices.

4. The truth is out there, like it or not

Lock down your social media accounts by restricting your posts to just your actual friends. You can adjust that in the settings. Nonetheless, assume that everyone everywhere can see what you're posting — even if you restrict your audience.

As mentioned before, personal tidbits can help hackers crack easy passwords. They also can be used to answer supposedly personal questions to reset passwords for many services.

Beyond security, Facebook and Twitter are among the first places employers look when researching a job candidate. You don't want anything embarrassing to pop up.

Woe to those who attended college after the advent of social media. Bet you're regretting all those keg-stand selfies now.

Associated Press

Monday, February 05, 2018

Workers celebrate more money in paychecks after tax cuts By Lucia I. Suarez Sang

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/02/workers-celebrate-more-money-in-paychecks-after-tax-cuts.html

February 2, 2018


Many workers nationwide are noticing extra money in their pay checks this week after instructions from December's tax overhaul went into effect.

“I just checked my paycheck and I have $100 extra dollars! That money will go to my church and help pay a bill,” Michael Diaz, of Houston, Texas, tweeted on Friday. “Thank you @tedcruz and @POTUS for the #TaxCuts $200 extra per month is not crumbs in my house!”

The "crumbs" remark made by Diaz and others referred to a remark from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who opposed the bill. Pelosi, in a widely mocked comment, said bonuses relating to the tax cut amounted to "crumbs" for workers.

The bigger paychecks started Feb. 1 as employers began implementing the new withholding guidelines from the IRS, which dictate how much employers withhold from pay for federal taxes.

However, those whose checks remained the same shouldn’t fret – employers have until Feb. 15 to make the changes.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has estimated the new rules will mean more take-home pay for about 90 percent of American workers.

“Looked at my paycheck today, took home $130 more than last paycheck. #Ilikecrumbs @NancyPelosi,” Rick Lovett, a Marine veteran from New Hampshire, tweeted Friday.

Julia Ketchum, a secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week. She didn't think her pay would go up at all, let alone this soon. That adds up to $78 a year, which she said will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.

Todd Anderson of Texas and his fiance, who are both educators, got an extra $200 in their paychecks combined that they plan to use to cover the costs of a second baby on its way.

Wayne Love, who works in managed care in Spring Hill, Florida, got an extra $200 in his paycheck last week, which he said will help offset a $300 increase in the cost of his health insurance.

"I have heard time and again that the middle class is getting crumbs, but I'll take it!" Love said by email.


According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a middle-income household would on average get a tax cut of $930 this year, lifting their after-tax income by about 1.6 percent. That increase won't be perfectly reflected in their paycheck though.

That's because lower tax withholding on paychecks is just a piece of a complicated set of changes to tax law that the GOP pushed through in December. And what your employer withholds is based on an estimate of your tax obligation that includes many complex factors, but it's not a perfect measure.

As a result, taxpayers may find they are unintentionally over- or underwithholding for their taxes if they don't do some legwork.

Experts suggest that all taxpayers take a look the new IRS calculator when it becomes available later in February to ensure they are having the correct amount withheld. And they should update the information on their W-4 after the IRS releases a revised version later this year.

The IRS said the new withholding tables should produce an accurate withholding amount for people with simpler tax situations. But tax experts say those who will still itemize, have larger families or more complicated tax situations may want to take a closer look.

"If they haven't done it before, this is a really good year to talk to your tax professional," said Pete Isberg, vice president of government relations for ADP, a payroll provider.

The IRS, payroll and tax professionals have been scrambling to react to the passage of the new tax law. And the IRS says it plans to make further changes involving withholding matters in 2019. Many in the industry say they expect the IRS to update the W-4 form in 2019 in a more dramatic fashion to fully reflect the scope of the law.

No worker should anticipate a negative impact from the new withholding table if their pay remained the same, said Joseph Rosenberg, a senior researcher at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

SMALL BUSINESSES PLANNING PAY BOOSTS RISE TO 28-YEAR HIGH

"It's tough to be upset about more money in my pocket," said Jefferey Snively, an aerospace engineer who got a 4 percent bump in his last paycheck due to the lower tax rate.

Still, not everyone was pleased with the pay bump.

"Everyone is talking about getting more money in their paycheck because of the tax bill and I got $7 more than usual. Reaping the benefits man, totally proportional to the cuts the top 1% got," a user named Matt tweeted.

In addition to the higher paychecks, the Labor Department said Friday that U.S. employers added a robust 200,000 jobs in January and that wages rose at the fastest pace in more than eight years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The agony and ecstasy of being an Eagles fan By Rose Krebs



The passion Philadelphia fans feel for their team is intense, say area psychologists. [MICHAEL PEREZ / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/entertainmentlife/20180129/agony-and-ecstasy-of-being-eagles-fan

Jan 29, 2018

Once the Super Bowl is over, it will be euphoria or disappointment for Eagles fans. And some will handle it better than others.

As Eagles fans prepare to sit down with family or friends at home or head out to watch the big game with many others at bars or parties, anticipation and excitement is mounting.

Two area psychologists who are Eagles fans discussed the root of fandom, the impact it has on people, and the importance of keeping proper perspective win or lose.

“I grew up in Philadelphia so I can tell you from a fan perspective as well,” said Dr. Joel Fish, director of the Center for Sports Psychology in Philadelphia. “It’s a fact not a myth that Philadelphia fans are a deeply passionate and intense fan base.”

In many cases, fandom in Philadelphia runs three or four generations deep, Fish said. Families watch the games together, kids often grow up following a team, and they share that common experience with other fans. It makes for an intense experience for many.

“Sports is a personal part of our identity more than other urban areas,” Fish said. “It’s an anchor of civic identity.”

It unites all type of people — young and old, rich or poor, and from different racial and cultural identities, he added.

“We haven’t had as many championships as other cities so there’s a hunger here,” Fish said. “I think that hunger factor is what is creating so much attention.”

Fish, 62, spoke of remembering the Eagles winning the NFL championship when he was a young boy in 1960 before the Super Bowl came into existence. The thrill of victory in long overdue for fans like him.

Dr. David Leibovitz, 44, of the Hopewell Springs Counseling Center in Evesham, distinctly remembers how disappointed he was as a young boy when the Eagles lost to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV.

“It’s something imprinted in our DNA,” Leibovitz said of fandom. “It’s almost a tribal mentality...Really, we are part of the Philadelphia tribe.”

Human beings like to share common experiences and camaraderie and sports teams give people a chance to feel a sense of unity, the two said.

“Enjoy the unique experience,” said Fish, who has served as psychologist for more than 25 years for athletes of all levels. “It’s an opportunity to share that aspect with others. Enjoy the social experience.”


Many Eagles fans have also loved the team for decades and that adds to their passion, he said.

“It’s a great time,” Fish said. “There’s a tremendous value in being able to root for a team. I just think it’s great for the region. Let’s embrace the uniqueness of this opportunity and enjoy it. Nobody expected this.”

For many, being a fan of a team can bolster esteem and offers a “diversion from the every day,” Leibovitz said. “We have a lot of stresses in our lives.”

Sharing the excitement of a Super Bowl run with family and community can offer a fun escape, he added.

On the flip side, both also said that fans need to keep perspective come win or loss.

“What I would encourage someone to do right now is enjoy the ride,” Leibovitz said. “Allow yourself to dream.”

And if the dream does not go their way, it’s a time to learn about dealing with disappointment.

“When we win, we feel part of that win,” Leibovitz said. “And when we lose, unfortunately, we feel part of that loss.”

And for Eagles fans, there has been practice dealing with disappointment, he added.

“We are the lovable losers. Everybody loves to kick us when we are down,” Leibovitz said. “This is our chance to put our best foot forward.”

Leibovitz argues the down side to the Philly fan’s passion is often “misunderstood” or exaggerated by the national media and people not from the region.

“Our fans are great and extremely knowledgeable,” Leibovitz said, agreeing with Fish that it is a deep-rooted passion born from generations of fandom.

Besides, in this case, the underdog Eagles are battling the “evil empire,” Leibovitz joked, calling the Patriots “the ultimate dynasty in professional sports.”

“I think fans in these moments tend to root for the underdog,” Fish said. “Philly does see itself as a Rocky-style underdog...We do that with pride. We battle. We fight. We’re gritty. That’s one of the reasons I think the fans really like this team.”

After quarterback Carson Wentz, with his MVP-worthy numbers, went down for the season with injury, Fish said he believes fans modified their expectations. But the team kept on winning.

“I think we’ve got the best of both worlds,” Fish said. “The season has exceeded expectations and any disappointment will be lessened.”

Leibovitz called this Eagles team “unique” and seemingly full of “kinship” and “brotherhood.”

“Everyone has this team mentality that the sum is greater than any of the parts,” he said.

And if they do lose — although both said they believe they will win — fans need proper perspective.

“It’s only a game, let’s remember that,” Fish said. “Life goes on. The sun comes up...there’s an opportunity here for parents who are going to be watching with their kids to be a model for them.”

Passion is good, but being a good sport is too, Fish said. Just as players shake the hands of their opponent and move on, so the fan must get up the next day and go about life, he added.

And “if they win, we have an opportunity how to teach our kids how to celebrate and there’s some limits to that,” Fish said. “Handle that with class.”

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Phillips Philes Cites Commercials Of 2017

JPMorgan Chase - "Mom's First Date" (Helen Slater at end)



Vinyl Express

SpecSavers

NutriSystem - Lean13 "80 Off" with Melissa Joan Hart and Soleil Moon Frye


BMW USA "Perfect Sense"

Hyundai Sonata - "Duet" (Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline)

Xeljanz XR "Vinyl Collection"

Land Rover Discovery "White Christmas"

Lincoln - Olivia's Wish List

PC Matic "No You Don't"

Saturday, January 27, 2018

21 Days

Good Saturday morning to you, as it is around the 1:00 AM hour, Eastern Standard time. I was racking my brain, in regards to the title of this blog entry. At first, I was thinking of a couple song titles. I was considering the last U.S. number one song by The Beatles and a hit by Roger Whittaker that was later covered by Elvis Presley in 1976; however, I kept it simple with "21 Days".

On Monday, January 22, 2018, I was notified by the client that they are going with a different guard service in thirty days. That is the life of working for a guard service (even though I have worked for only one). This is not the first time I have gone through this. Nearly four years ago, I went through a similar transition of my position being outsourced to the guard I have worked for. It was seamless, especially after I obtained my SORA license. That credential is upcoming for renewal, and I do plan on renewing it, since it means that I can obtain practically any security job in New Jersey. With that in mind, I do have options available. I am going to weigh what is out there before making up my mind. I have an idea as to which direction I may be heading, but will not say until there is a firm agreement.

As the sunset date of February 17th approaches, I can look back and reflect on my tenure and experience with the guard service. Within a one year period of time, I was promoted from Officer, to Sergeant, and finally Lieutenant, the position I have had for the past eighteen months. Besides covering a post, I did scheduling, handling payroll, and helping new hires obtain their SORA license. Some would say that the pay wasn't the greatest, but I did the best I could for what I was getting paid for. In a way, they are probably glad that they won't be paying me overtime (LOL). That is the life of being in management, no matter what profession. Maybe I will be fortunate enough, in that I will have "guaranteed" days off. As for somebody that is approaching their mid-forties like me, is it about job security or money? Stay tuned, as the decision will be finalized within twenty-one days.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Bill

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Neil Diamond Thanks Fans for Making Him 'Smile' by Donating Ticket Refunds to Parkinson's Research By Karen Mizoguchi


Source: http://people.com/music/neil-diamond-thanks-fans-donating-ticket-refunds-parkinsons/

January 23, 2018

After announcing his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Neil Diamond and his wife Katie are overwhelmed by the fan support.

The music legend, responsible for hits like “Sweet Caroline,” “America” and “Cracklin’ Rosie,” shared a statement on his website Monday evening revealing that he canceled concert dates in Australia and New Zealand based on doctor’s advice.

“Wow, I’ve received a bunch of messages from people in Aus & NZ who are donating their ticket refunds to good causes: Parkinson’s research, animal rescue groups, fire victim funds, etc,” Katie, 46, tweeted on Tuesday.

“My heart is so full of joy to see this silver lining. Faith in humanity = restored. Thank you!” she added.


Neil Diamond and wife Katie in November 2016 Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Neil also shared his gratitude and appreciation to his fan base with a tweet of his own.

“This makes me smile. Thank you. Thank you to everyone for your outpouring of love and support. It makes a difference,” he tweeted, responding to his wife’s message.

RELATED: Celebrate Neil Diamond’s 50th Anniversary Tour with These 7 Fascinating Stories Behind His Biggest Hits

Due to the onset of the Parkinson’s disease, it has become “difficult to travel and perform on a large scale basis” but has yet to affect “his writing, recording and development of new projects,” according to the statement.

“I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world,” Diamond said. “You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”


Neil Diamond in October 2014 Monica Schipper/Getty

RELATED: Neil Diamond Leads Massive ‘Sweet Caroline’ Sing-Along in Times Square for New Year’s Eve

Fans from around the world, including his celebrity friends, shared their well wishes. Micky Dolenz of the Monkees and songwriting icon Neil Sedaka paid tribute to Diamond in statements to PEOPLE.

“Needless to say, I am dismayed at the news that one of the greatest songwriter/performers of my generation is having to curtail his activities due to illness,” Dolenz told PEOPLE in a statement. “Through his music, Neil brought untold joy to countless fans and to the world in general. I wish you all the best, Neil, and a remain a ‘Believer’ in everything you do.”

Meanwhile, Sedaka shared a memory from their childhood growing up together.

“Along with everyone else, I was shocked to hear this news,” he said to PEOPLE. “We lived across the street from each other in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. He is the most talented of the singer/songwriters/performers that I watched hone their craft at the Brill Building. His recordings and his writings are just superb. He’s an all-around great guy. For all the joy he has brought to the world, I know it will come back to him tenfold. Sending all my love to him and his family.”

Fellow singer Barry Manilow immediately tweeted follow Diamond’s announcement: “#Neil Diamond So,so sorry to hear about the great Neil Diamond’s illness. I’m rooting for you Neil! Fight on from another Brooklyn boy!:

Reba McEntire, Josh Groban, Nancy Sinatra, Brian Wilson, and many others also expressed their admiration for the music titan.

The Recording Academy will honor Diamond with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award during the Grammy Awards on Jan. 28, airing on CBS at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Nikki Haley Threatens U.N. With Defunding Over Resolution Condemning U.S. Jerusalem Decision By Tim Hains

Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/12/21/nikki_haley_threatens_un_with_defunding_over_resolution_condemning_us_jerusalem_decision.html

December 21, 2017



UN Ambassador Nikki Haley weighs in on the General Assembly's debate about whether or not to condemn the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In a major diplomatic blow to Israel and U.S. President Donald Trump, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution rejecting the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, with 128 member states voting in favor of the resolution and a mere nine voting against it.

NIKKI HALEY: The United States is by far, the single largest contributor to the United Nations and its agencies.

We do this in part to advance our values and our interests. When that happens, our participation in the UN produces great good for the world... We hold outlaw regimes accountable. We do this because it represents who we are. It is our American way.

But I will be honest with you, when we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognized and respected.

When a nation is singled out for an attack in this organization, that nation is disresepected. What's more, that nation is asked to pay for the privilege of being disrespected.

In the case of the United States, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege.

Unlike some U.N, member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people, as such we have an obligation to acknowledge when our political and financial capital is being poorly spent.

We have an obligation to demand more for our investment, and if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways. Those are the thoughts that come to mind when we consider the resolution before us today.

Full text of Nikki Haley’s speech to UN General Assembly on Jerusalem

Source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/full-text-of-nikki-haleys-speech-to-un-general-assembly-on-jerusalem/

'The US will remember this day, in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation'


21 December 2017


United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, addresses the General Assembly prior to the vote on Jerusalem, on December 21, 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York. (AFP PHOTO / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ)

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley spoke to the UN General Assembly ahead of its vote on the status of Jerusalem, December 21, 2017:

Thank you, Mr. President.

To its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the state of Israel. Both the current and the previous Secretary-Generals have objected to the UN’s disproportionate focus on Israel. It’s a wrong that undermines the credibility of this institution, and that in turn is harmful for the entire world.

I’ve often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body. And then I remember that Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it’s important to stand up for yourself. Israel must stand up for its own survival as a nation; but it also stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about.

Standing here today, being forced to defend sovereignty and the integrity of my country – the United States of America – many of the same thoughts have come to mind. The United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations and its agencies. We do this, in part, in order to advance our values and our interests. When that happens, our participation in the UN produces great good for the world. Together we feed, clothe, and educate desperate people. We nurture and sustain fragile peace in conflict areas throughout the world. And we hold outlaw regimes accountable. We do this because it represents who we are. It is our American way.

But we’ll be honest with you. When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognized and respected. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What’s more, that nation is asked to pay for the “privilege” of being disrespected.

In the case of the United States, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege. Unlike in some UN member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people. As such, we have an obligation to acknowledge when our political and financial capital is being poorly spent.

We have an obligation to demand more for our investment. And if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways. Those are the thoughts that come to mind when we consider the resolution before us today.

The arguments about the President’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem have already been made. They are by now well known. The decision was in accordance to U.S. law dating back to 1995, and it’s position has been repeatedly endorsed by the American people ever since. The decision does not prejudge any final status issues, including Jerusalem’s boundaries. The decision does not preclude a two-state solution, if the parties agree to that. The decision does nothing to harm peace efforts. Rather, the President’s decision reflects the will of the American people and our right as a nation to choose the location of our embassy. There is no need to describe it further.

Instead, there is a larger point to make. The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.

America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that.

But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN. And this vote will be remembered.

Thank you.


How each country voted at the UN on Jerusalem status resolution

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/22/middleeast/jerusalem-vote-united-nations-list-intl/index.html

Voted "No" to the resolution: 9


Guatemala
Honduras
Israel
Marshall Islands
Micronesia
Nauru
Palau
Togo
US

Abstained: 35


Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Bahamas
Benin
Bhutan
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cameroon
Canada
Colombia
Croatia
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
Equatorial Guinea
Fiji
Haiti
Hungary
Jamaica
Latvia
Lesotho
Kiribati
Malawi
Mexico
Panama
Paraguay
Philippines
Poland
Romania
Rwanda
Solomon Islands
South Sudan
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
Uganda
Vanuatu

Voted "Yes" to the resolution: 128


Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Angola
Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Bolivia
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cape Verde
Cambodia
Chad
Chile
China
Comoros
Congo
Costa Rica
Cuba
Cyprus
Denmark
Dijbouti
Dominica
Ecuador
Egypt
Eritrea
Estonia
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guinea
Guyana
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Italy
Ivory Coast
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Lebanon
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Mauritania
Mauritius
Monaco
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
North Korea
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Portugal
Qatar
Russia
St Vincent and Grenadines
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Somalia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Macedonia
Tunisia
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zimbabwe

Israel in talks with more than 10 countries over Jerusalem embassy move By Chris Perez

Source: https://nypost.com/2017/12/25/israel-in-talks-with-more-than-10-countries-over-jerusalem-embassy-move/

December 25, 2017


Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely

Israel is in talks with more than 10 countries — including some in Europe — about potentially moving their respective embassies to Jerusalem, according to officials.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely on Monday said the nations were interested in following President Trump’s footsteps and declaring the Israeli city the new capital in the wake of Guatemala’s recent decision to do so.

While she refused to name the countries, Hotovely told Israel Radio that they were from every continent on earth.

Honduras is reportedly the next in line to take Trump’s lead.

“We are in contact with at least ten countries, some of them in Europe,” Hotovely said, according to i24NEWS.

Honduras, like Guatemala, was one of the nine nations that voted in support of the US in the UN General Assembly’s resolution to oppose Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced Sunday that he would be moving his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, despite the UN vote.

Hotovely told local media that the discussions going on with the other nations were still in the early stages. She said they were taking place “with more than 10 countries, but not many more.”

Monday, January 15, 2018

Late Chicago Tribune Columnist Mike Royko On Political Correctness

A Nose Rub Of Sorts For Ditzy Word Jocks

Source: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-06-01/news/9002140598_1_dictionary-words-fried-chicken

June 01, 1990|By Mike Royko.

Maybe it's time to wave the white flag. The age of super-sensitivity is crushing me.

I started to feel like a beaten man while reading a list of words that I shouldn't use because they might offend someone.

The bad-word dictionary was put together by a panel of news people on something called the Multicultural Management Program at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

The introduction to their bad-word dictionary says:

"As newspapers move into the 1990s, there will be more emphasis on including minorities in daily stories-accurately, succinctly and in good taste. Language usage that has been acceptable in the past may no longer be acceptable.

"The following is a checklist of words, many objectionable, that reporters and editors must be aware of in order to avoid offending and perpetuating stereotypes."

Some of the words on the list are obviously offensive: nigger, chink, faggot. So you don`t see them in newspapers.

But "Dutch treat?" "Airhead?" And how about such shockers as barracuda, burly, buxom, dear, dingbat, ditz, dizzy, fried chicken, gorgeous, gyp, housewife, illegal alien, Ivan, jock, johns, lazy, pert, petite, rubbing noses, shiftless, stunning, sweetie, and ugh.

That's right, "ugh." The dictionary says: "A gutteral word used to mimic American Indian speech. Highly offensive."

Why not "Dutch treat?" They say: "To share the cost, as in a date. Implies that Dutch people are cheap."

Shall I go on? It depresses me, but why not?


- Barracuda: "A negative generalization of persons without morals and/or ethical standards or judgments. Many times directed at forceful women."

- Airhead: "Term is an objectionable description, generally aimed at women."

- Burly: "An adjective too often associated with large black men, implying ignorance, and considered offensive in this context."

- Buxom: "Offensive reference to a woman`s chest."

- Dear: "A term of endearment objectionable to some. Usage such as 'He was a dear man,' or 'she is a dear,' should be avoided."

- Dingbat: "Objectionable term that describes women as intellectually inferior."

- Ditz: "Objectionable term meaning stupid."

- Dizzy: "Avoid as an adjective for women."

- Fried chicken: "A loaded phrase when used carelessly and as a stereotype, referring to the cuisine of black people. Also applies to watermelon."

- Gorgeous: "An adjective that describes female physical attributes. Use carefully."

- Gyp: "An offensive term, meaning to cheat, derived from Gypsy."

- Illegal alien: "Often used to refer to Mexicans and Latin Americans believed to be in the United States without visas; the preferred term is undocumented worker or undocumented resident."

- Ivan: "A common and offensive substitute for a Soviet person."

- Jock: "A term applied to both men and women who participate in sports. Can be offensive to some."

- Johns: "Men who frequent prostitutes, but not a proper generic term for men or bathrooms."

- Lazy: "Use advisedly, especially when describing non-whites."

- Pert: "An adjective describing a female characteristic. Avoid usage."

- Petite: "Reference to a woman`s body size. Can be offensive."

- Rubbing noses: "Allegedly an Eskimo kiss. However, Eskimos don`t rub noses and object to the characterization."

- Senior citizens: "Do not use for anyone under 65. . . . Do not describe people as elderly, senile, matronly or well-preserved. . . . Do not use dirty old man, codger, coot, geezer, silver fox, old-timers, Pop, old buzzard."

- Shiftless: "As a description for blacks, highly objectionable."

- Stunning: "Avoid physical descriptions."

- Sweetie: "Objectionable term of endearment. Do not use."

I've changed my mind. I refuse to knuckle down to the dizzy new-age journalistic airheads in this ditzy Multicultural Management Program.

These dingbats appear to be bigots themselves. They list dozens of words- including fried chicken-that they say offend blacks, gays or women.

But they don`t include "honky," which many blacks call whites, or dago, wop, heeb, kike, mick, herring-choker, frog, kraut, bohunk or polack. Ain't us honkies got feelings too?

Whether or not they like it, Ivan Boesky is a Wall Street barracuda. William Perry, who used to be a fat slob, is now merely burly. My wife is petite and a gorgeous sweetie.

If some geezer unzips in a schoolyard, I reserve my constitutional right to call him a dirty old man.

The damn Rooskies have aimed missiles at me for 40 years, so maybe I'll refer to a Soviet as an Ivan. I've been called worse.

I'll continue to go have Dutch-treat lunches with my friends and check the bill to make sure the waiter didn't gyp me.

Why not "illegal alien?" It`s specific. It means an alien who is here in violation of our immigration laws. But what's an "undocumented worker?"

If I come to work without my wallet, I don't have any documents with me, so I`m an undocumented worker. Will I be deported?

If I decide to say "I hit the john," instead of "I visited the room where one disposes of bodily wastes," I'll do so.

When I put together a softball team, I'll recruit real jocks, not a bunch of wimps, nerds, dweebs or weenies.

And little kids have been rubbing noses and calling it an "Eskimo kiss" as long as I can remember. And that's a long time, since I border on being a geezer, a coot or a codger.

Fried chicken, fried chicken, fried chicken. I said it and I'm glad. Sue me.

In conclusion, your dictionary is a stunning example of lazy, shiftless thinking.

Ugh.


The Politically Smug Offer To Correct My Many Flaws By Mike Royko

Source: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19931105&slug=1730048

November 5, 1993

AS hard as I try to be sensitive and politically correct, I can't avoid bumbling my way into boorish opinions, thus offending those who are truly enlightened.

And it seems to be getting worse all the time. Before noon today, I heard from four members of four groups who bawled me out for insulting them in recent columns.

It began with Erin Gallob, of Crawford, Colo., who didn't like something I wrote about politically correct choices of Halloween costumes for children.

She says: "You ask why should we be sensitive to the feelings of witches?

"My reply: Witchcraft or Wicce is a legitimate, nature-based religion practiced by many people both in America and abroad, and should be accorded the same respect as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc.

"The witch portrayed today at Halloween is the Goddess in her crone aspect. She signifies the dying year and the wisdom that comes with age.

"It was only after the onset of Christianity that the Pagan Wisewoman became a figure of fear and hatred.

"So there is, as you can see, a very good reason to be sensitive to the feelings of witches like myself."

OK, from now on I will be sensitive to the feelings of Ms. Gallob and other witches.

But not vampires. Terrible drinkers. Don't like 'em, don't trust 'em; never have, never will, and I don't want them living next door to me. And I will continue to speak out against them. Werewolves, too. Keep you awake all night with their damn howling.

Next, I managed to anger Edward L. Koven, of Highland Park, Ill., by recounting anecdotes about John Kruk, the wise-cracking Philadelphia baseball player.

One was when a female fan saw Kruk smoking and berated him, saying that an athlete should not use tobacco. Kruk responded, "Lady, I'm not an athlete, I'm a baseball player."

This prompted Mr. Koven to say that my "concept of a hero, John Kruk, is quite warped."

"Since tobacco is a drug containing at least 43 carcinogens and toxins, it should be added to the list of other drugs banned in baseball. Tobacco kills. Kruk and other ballplayers should spread that message - not poisonous tobacco smoke.

"Perhaps you could find other heroes, such as the physicians, nurses and family members who care for and treat the millions of victims of tobacco smoke."

OK, I vow to never again be so warped as to write favorably about Kruk, that despicable spewer of carcinogens and toxins. And to think I cheered for him and his team in the World Series. I am so ashamed.

The third rebuke came from Frank De Avila, of Chicago, who was offended by a column I wrote about Mexico's refusal to extradite Mexicans who commit crimes in the United States, then flee back to their homeland.

De Avila said that I am a known racist and have "single-handedly managed to humiliate millions of honest and law-abiding Mexicans and Mexican-Americans," and that I "implied that they are child abusers, rapists, murderers and drug smugglers."

Well, the last thing I want to do is insult "millions" of law-abiding people. And it was insensitive of me not to realize that when I wrote about specific fugitives, such as the man who raped and almost murdered a 5-year-old girl, millions of law-abiding Mexicans and Mexican-Americans would assume that I was accusing them of being rapists.

Nor will I ever write about any criminals of Polish, Scandinavian, Italian, Greek, German or Asian ancestry, or those who are Catholic or Protestant, and those who are bald, tall, short, medium-height, nearsighted or red-haired, because I wouldn't want to insult the hundreds of millions, or even billions of people who make up those groups.

Besides my being insensitive, our switchboard and mail room couldn't handle all the cries of anguish.

So I apologize to anyone who is of the same ethnic background as serial killer John Gacy, whatever it is. When I said Gacy is a creep, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

Finally, there is a Mrs. Johnson, who said she lives in the University of Chicago neighborhood, but did not tell me her first name. However, she did say that I am a hopeless white bigot because I disagreed with the jury's rather mild verdict in the Reginald Denny case.

"What does a racist like you know about what those two boys have been through?" she shouted into the phone. "What do you know about how they grew up being deprived and being disrespected? All you know about is that stupid videotape. What do you know about the social conditions and the economics that forced these boys to do what they did? If you weren't so racist and ignorant, you'd know about those things and you wouldn't write the way you did."

She made a compelling argument. Yes, it is true that social and economic conditions contribute to crime. And they surely were a factor in the attack on truck driver Reginald Denny.

So I must concede that if Damian Williams had been born in a wealthy and privileged environment, he would not have picked up that brick and bashed Reginald Denny in the head.

Maybe he would have used a polo mallet.

(Copyright, 1993, The Chicago Tribune)

Mike Royko's column appears Friday on editorial pages of The Times.