Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gun Control

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for days since the school massacre at Newtown happened. Those who know I’m an Air Force veteran will probably not be surprised that I own a gun and I favor people owning guns.

Friends, I have been shot at and I have shot at enemy troops. I do not expect that a full scale war requiring that response will occur in the United States. I’m sure my forefather farming a plot North of Gettysburg, PA in 1860 didn’t expect it either. We all know now that he was wrong and he was lucky. The war came knocking on his front steps, but it never entered his life.

I have been to Bergen-Belsen, and Dachau, and Anne Frank’s Hidden Annex. I have seen the results of tyranny taking over a peaceful people who did not have the power to resist its rule.

Our founding fathers following a war to overthrow an absent leader understood that the average man needed the means to reject authoritative rule. Yes, the 2nd Amendment says: A well trained militia being necessary to the preservation of freedom, congress shall make no laws abridging the people’s right to keep and bear arms. Please parse that sentence. It does not say Congress can’t stop people from being in a militia. It doesn’t require you to be in a well trained militia to own a gun. The beginning is a subordinate clause. It explains the reason for the sentence, but doesn’t modify it in any way. In short, the action in the sentence is “Congress shall make no law abridging the right”.

That is why I believe everyone should start with the right to keep & bear arms. However, like other rights, I do agree there are ways you might lose the right. Just as convicted felons can’t vote, I don’t want them to have guns either. I can easily see owning guns being registered and licensed just like owning a car and driving it are managed. I include testing, inspections, registering, liability insurance, and the means to revoke the right in that process. My wife had a stroke in 2006. Her Doctor submitted paperwork to the state and she was notified that she had lost her right to drive and what she needed to do to get that right back. I think we can enact the same rules regarding mental health and gun owners’ rights.

Is this change going to be easy? No. The idea for cars started when there were very few cars on the road and it was easy to enforce. The continued enforcement has been handled by requiring car dealers registering vehicles before they leave the dealership. I’ve no idea of a practical means to register already owned guns. There will be a certain percent that voluntarily do so, but will that even be 50%? I don’t think so, but I’m just guessing.

Now some of you are going to ask me, “All guns?” Do you all realize that 12% of the US population is Veterans? Want to guess what weapons we are most familiar with? Yeah.

I have a pistol and only a pistol. I’m too old and too fat to be in a situation needing an assault weapon, but if the worst comes about, you can be damned sure my fire team will have a few. I’m more likely to grab a shotgun to fire for effect because it’s point and shoot; no aiming really required.

Am I sad about the events at Newtown? Of course I am. How can any human with a beating heart not be upset over the massacre of innocent children?

Do I think that will be the last such massacre? No, but I don’t think removing all guns from circulation is the answer. That simply opens us up to more problems down the road.

Are there other steps that can be done? Yes.
a.      I’m in favor of trained staff carrying guns everywhere.
b.     I’m also in favor of limiting the size of magazines.
c.      I can also agree to limit the sales of semi-automatic weapons.

The first limits massacres by shooting the offender, the latter two by limiting the number of rounds that can be fired in a given time.

What will congress do? They are supposed to represent us, so I hope they create a registration & licensing system.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Question for Type 1 Diabetics about Pumps & Continuous Glucose Monitors

Friends, I’m crowdsourcing a question.
I’m going to put a lot of narrative below, but my basic questions are:
 1)      What pump do you use?
       a.       Why?
2)      What infusion set do you use?
3)      Plastic or metal cannula/needle?
4)      Have you ever had problems with insulin leaking, the cannula or needle pulling out, or any other non-standard response?
5)      Do you use a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system?
       a.       If so, which one?
       b.      What are the pros and cons of that system?
If you feel you can answer those questions without any more info feel free. You can respond with comments, you can email me at, find me on FaceBook as Jules Shore (same picture) or via Twitter @7shores.

Now for that background: My wife, hereafter known as Mrs, has been a Type 1 Diabetic for 51 years. Hold your applause please, it doesn’t mean she’s done everything right. On the contrary, she’ll be the first to tell you she isn’t a good diabetic. She has exceeded all expectations of doctors. 20 years ago when we got married, she was expected to live about 5 years. It’s 20 years later and she’s slowed down some, but she’s still ticking.

Mrs works in a Doctor’s office (Family Practice). About two years ago a Medtronic pump salesperson approached the Dr to get him to recommend pumps for patients needing that type of therapy. The Dr wore a pump for two weeks with saline in the reservoir to get a feel for it. At the same time, they recruited Mrs to try pump therapy too. Of course, she had a real live pump full of insulin. That went well so they added on some other incentives and Mrs became a pumper at the cost of $1500.

Up until that time, our Primary Care Physician was following her diabetes. Mostly that meant checking the A1c and keeping up with prescription needs. They didn’t want to follow her use of the pump, so they really forced us to get an Endocrinologist.

When we signed up with the Endo, she already had a pump and supplies, so there wasn’t any discussion of which pump to use. Within a few months, they were pushing the CGMS integrated with the Medtronic paradigm pump that Mrs is using.

Mrs’ control has been great on the pump, but frankly it hasn’t been the easiest change to make. She had a lot of problems with the first Infusion sets she used. They had a needle inside a plastic cannula. After insertion, you pull the needle out and an internal valve is supposed to keep the insulin from coming out the hole. That didn’t work for us, after a number of instances of changing the infusion set while on the phone with Medtronic customer support, we resorted to covering the hole with tape. On a following visit to the Endo, we were put in touch with a different Medtronic salesperson. They may call them case worker or similar title, but I call a spade a spade. She switched Mrs to the Sure-T infusion set. That model has a needle stay in the whole time, so there is no hole for leakage. Unfortunately it has a smaller patch of adhesive and Mrs has pulled needles out on occasion. We reinsert it and cover it with band aids or tape and change at the next expected change.

Mrs also tried the Glucose monitor system from Medtronic that integrates with her pump. Frankly it was a pain in the ass. (My blog; my rules.) She couldn’t take any of the IV covers they wanted her to use. Tegaderm works fine in the hospital, but after three days around the sensor she’d be all red and bumpy at the edges. Without a cover, the sensor adhesive would sweat off before 3 days were up. In addition, she’d have to check her BG 8 times a day to keep the sensor calibrated.

Thru Twitter contacts, I’ve discovered there are other brands of pumps and also CGMs that aren’t integrated with the pump. So I’m looking for some feedback from real users about their equipment; good, bad, or ugly. I can do research all day long, but none of that is as valuable as the info I can get from real users. Feel free to pass this around via any social media to all of the Type 1 pumpers you know.
 If there are any other sugestions, feel free to share those too. It seems strange to be newbies at the process 51 years into a disease, but it is true that we are newbie pumpers compared to some of you.

Thank you,

Friday, December 14, 2012

I Love Serials (no, no, really, I do)

In today's episode of "It's Tuesday, so this must be Belgium", a journal in search of an identity:

Previous titles/ISSNs:
0023-023X Ophthalmic Surgery, January 1970-August 1995
1082-3069 Ophthalmic Surgery and Lasers, September 1995-December 2002
1542-8877 Ophthalmic Surgery, Lasers & Imaging, January 2003-December 2012

2325-8160 Ophthalmic Surgery, Lasers & Imaging Retina, effective January 2013

I guess I shouldn't complain, they are keeping Catalogers all over the world gainfully employed just cleaning up after them. But still, does this change really make any difference to your readership?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Xmas Lights

This year's decorations for Christmas, Chanukah, Hanukmas, Christnukah, Festivus, what ever you like to call it. May everyone have a Merry Holiday season. I still limit my wishes to three: Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men, and a list of all the Naughty Girls within one mile of my house (but 2 out of 3 wouldn't be bad).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Citizenship – A forgotten duty

This morning (11/16/12) on the Today show, I saw 30 new Americans take the Oath of Allegiance. (That’s the oath that makes them American Citizens.) I was struck by the differences between the Oath of Allegiance, the Oath of Enlistment (taken by everyone enlisting in the Armed Services), and the Oath of Office (taken by Commissioned Officers and also civilian Government Employees). (Yes, that’s right; I’ve taken the last two.)
I have the full forms of all three oaths below. Due to length, I’ll put the last two much further down after the meat of the post. You can read them now or later as you prefer.
[Go ahead if you want to, I’ll wait.] 8-) 
Here’s the Oath of Allegiance:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
The actual legal code is at  (There are exceptions for religious reasons)
Here’s what is in that Oath, but isn’t in the Oath of Enlistment or Oath of Office:
… that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
…that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law;
That first part makes sense. To become a citizen here, you have to ‘un-become’ a citizen somewhere else. It’s that second part that makes me say “Wow! That’s some heavy shit, dude.”
(Yes, I’m 50. Put your own age appropriate exclamation there if you if you want to, that’s mine.)
 New Citizens are required to swear they will fight for this country, if able, or perform some other public service if they can’t bear arms.
I was born here. I have sworn to support & defend the laws of the US. I have picked up arms on behalf of the US. No one ever made me swear that I was willing to do so.
So, what am I getting at? We make people that want to join our country swear to do something that no one has made any citizen swear to. Even the 12% that have borne arms for the country never had to promise to do so. I’m not speaking out either for or against that, I’m just commenting - “Wow! That’s some heavy shit, dude.”
[12.1% of the US Population is a Veteran. By state, the top 5 are Alaska, Mont., Maine, VA, & WY (all over 14%). The bottom 5 are Utah, CA, DC, NJ, & NY. (All under 10% of their populations) NY, the least, is at 7.9% of the population.]
I’m a little late on the Veterans’ Day wishes, but thanks to all who have made that commitment.
Here’s a toast to absent warriors. We’ll reunite again on the Plains of Megiddo. <Pours a little Whiskey on the ground; drinks the rest in one gulp.> (Don’t ask why. I’ll never be able to explain. I haven’t the words for those that don’t understand; I need no words for those that do.)
<Present… Arms!> <two>
 Thank You!

Here’s the Oath of Enlistment taken by everyone enlisting in an armed service of the United States:
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
The Oath of Office (for Commissioned officers and civilian Government employees) is slightly different:
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Age Game

I played the coolest game on FaceBook yesterday. I can't figure out how it hasn't gone viral, but you just never know what'll strike a chord.

Here's how you play, someone randomly selects an Age for you and you post in your FB status what you remember of that year in your life. How many of you have FB friends that you went to High School or College with, but you know next to nothing of what has happened to them in the intervening time. This game is a great way to fill in those blanks.

Here's what I wrote:

When I was 30:
I was a Weather Forecaster in the Air Force assigned to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, OK. I'd met my wife, Joyce, the previous Summer out dancing at one of the clubs in town. (Country if you don't know) That Fall, we'd moved in together in a rental house just blocks from the base.

At my 30th birthday, we'd just returned from a multi-week trip, driving from OK to Florida to visit my Parents and Sister and then up to Virginia to visit Joyce's Sister, her husband, & kids. It was the second time around for both of us, so there weren't a lot of nerves involved in the respective meet the family. Also, I'd already met Joyce's Sister Louise in Ada, OK & her Dad in Arkansas, so this was just more of the same. On the way back, we spent a few days in Nashville being tourists. We saw the taping of a Statler Brothers' Christmas show and a Crook & Chase show that featured Little Texas.

As work goes, being in Tornado Alley, we'd just received the first working model of NexRad, the first Doppler radar. The prototype had been tested at Tinker and the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK. NexRad had dial-up capability to connect to radar antennas at other locations, so we were the first to be able to connect to antennas at Tinker and at Norman to watch storms from both sides. But most interesting to me, I had the best winter weather forecast I ever wrote. In a forecast written 18 hours before the snow started, I had forecasted the start time of snowfall at Tinker to within 1 minute of actual start time. (Since Base Ops had a big window facing the runway, we knew the start times that accurately.)

In all, I think 30 was a good year for me. Life was starting over again with a new wife, new family members, lots of friends, and plenty to do both at work and at play.

Want to play? You can find me on FaceBook at Ask me to generate a random age for you and then post your memories as your status. Be sure to tag me so I can see what you wrote.

Want to read more posts. I've shared global posts from friends to my Timeline on FaceBook.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Weekend: Tales of the Pale Rider

This is the story of my weekend. At the end of my workday Friday, I found out my Brother-in-Law, H, returned home from work to find his wife, D, collapsed in a heap between her bed and her wheelchair. H did all of the usual things to get the situation under control, eventually ending with an ambulance trip to the nearest hospital. On Saturday my wife and I joined them at the UVA Hospital where they had been transfered. I spent Saturday night / Sunday morning at that hospital while H got a chance to go home. It is nothing new for me to assist in D's care. My wife and I have spent a week doing it while H was on an important business trip. But that is not what this story is about. 

My readers, I present a discussion about the end of a relative's life. We will all eventually die. Regardless of your personal plans, I'm very certain of this. This is the story of my weekend. The end of the story isn't here. That's still to be determined. However, there is an important thought here that applies to your life too. Can you identify how my Sister in Law's life has affected yours?

A little history for those new to the story. My Sister in Law, D, is 72 years old. Her medical history includes 2 Strokes, 4 TIA (minor strokes with no long term effects), Coronary bypass and pacemaker, and Spinal Stenosis that was fixed by metal cage in her neck, but can’t be fixed in her lumbar region due to scoliosis (non-standard spinal curvature). Beca
use of the stenosis, she’s on significant pain killers. She’s been basically bed-ridden for the last 2 years. She uses an electric wheelchair in her house, but has been able to transfer herself from bed to chair and back again. Recently, she’s only had an average of 2 good hours a day. (Hours that she is totally alert and aware; able to act and interact.) 

The family has known that D’s time is limited, but whether her strokes or her spinal stenosis would kill her was unknown. Following the collapse, we've discovered a third disease process in the race that is guaranteed to win.

D was bleeding profusely from her bladder. Ultrasound and CT scans discovered a mass in her bladder approximately softball sized. While no biopsy has been performed, it is presumed to be cancerous, since the odds of it being benign are <5 %. 

Because of D’s various medical conditions, the usual surgery to remove the bladder is not being suggested at all. Instead, doctors are investigating the probability of successful endoscopic surgery to investigate whether the tumor can be cut from the bladder wall and removed. If the surgery is too risky or the tumor cannot be removed from the bladder wall, the two other choices are to allow the bladder to clot closed and either drain the kidneys via external tubes (in the back) or do nothing to drain the kidneys. The later will result in death within 6 weeks by potassium overload of the cardiac system (Yes, the pacemaker would be turned off to allow this to happen naturally.) 

We know D’s wishes. Her husband, H, has both Legal and Medical Power of Attorney and D long ago filed Do Not Resuscitate orders. The adult children understand this and have prepared the grandchildren as best the children are able to understand.

That is the story to date. Tomorrow there will be a conversation between the various involved doctors and the family. The wishes of the family are for D to be as comfortable as possible in the time she has left.

Did you discover the moral of the story? Yes, Readers, your end is just down the road too. None of us know the end of our days. 10 minutes after I've posted this, a meteorite from the Orionid Meteor Showers could have crashed thru my roof and killed me. Worse, it could have left me alive but unable to communicate my wishes. So, DO IT NOW!!! Wait, did you hear me??? DO IT NOW! Make sure your loved ones know your thoughts about the end of life. 

How hard do you want them (us?) to fight? Are you ready for the journey to end? What still needs to be done? Why are you waiting? The Rider of the Pale Horse is on the road. Is he on the way to your house?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Letter to the Editor - Journal of Hospital Librarians​hip

Dear Editor,
I've just finished reading Christine Marton's series of articles on the Online Presence of Medical Library Web Pages (1-3). I am a Librarian at a nationally recognized medical library, however regulations don't allow me to identify which one. Since clever readers will be able to identify me eventually, I must state here that this is my opinion and does not reflect the views of my employer. My place of employment is not one of the Libraries discussed in any of these articles, so this isn't just 'sour grapes'. In fact, my Library isn't even attached to a Hospital.
According to Ms. Marton's bio page at the University of Toronto ( ) primary interest is "the online health information behaviour of specific population demographics, primarily women and cancer patients."
Reading these complaints against the top 10 facilities in the United States, it is obvious that her interest is not Medical Libraries in the US. I contend her initial hypothesis is entirely wrong. The whole study was designed around finding links to the Medical Libraries at these locations for public health information. Why does she suppose that Hospital based Medical Libraries are bastions of Public Health Information? The United States has a variety of Medical Libraries and even those attached to major Hospitals may not undertake Dissemination of Public Health Information as one of their missions.
The National Library of Medicine ( ) provides a link to for Public Health Information. PhPartners identifies itself as "A collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations and health sciences libraries."  The FAQs do not list any Hospital Libraries as partners. They also list their goals as:
  • Organize and deliver public health resources so they are easier to find and use.
  • Identify and develop collaborative projects to meet the information needs of the public health workforce.
  • Increase the visibility of the partnership with librarians and the public health workforce.
  • Increase the information literacy of the public health workforce.
  • Strengthen the collaboration among the Partners.
I don't see Hospitals listed in the goals nor Libraries. I see "Increase the visibility of the partnership with librarians" which I paraphrase as 'let Librarians know we exist'. I don't see that anyone is pushing the theory that Hospital Libraries are supposed to be a source of Public Health Information except Ms. Marton. I see a lot of support for Government sites providing Public Health information. In Ms. Marton's article, she repeatly mentions the number of sites linking to the best known and best reviewed government source -- MEDLINEplus.
I believe the top 10 Hospitals in America are those that provide the best service to their patients. They are almost all heavily involved in the training of upcoming medical professionals. Their Libraries, accordingly, are directed at the Medical Professionals especially Medical School Students. Ms. Marton's articles point out very well how well linked some of these Libraries are to the departments they support. She doesn't seem to notice that the separate websites of those Libraries often tell you their primary goals or function. For example, Ms. Marton identifies Johns Hopkins' Welch Medical Library web site - For some reason I don't understand, she doesn't mention the giant banner on that page that reads: "Welch Medical Library  Serving the faculty, students & staff of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions".  That's a pretty obvious mission statement and it doesn't include the words Patients or Public.
The Mayo Clinic Library site's About page ( ) does mention patients. "Mayo Clinic Libraries is dedicated to meeting the information needs of Mayo Clinic employees, students, and patients." However further down the page they tell us that their system is really split into multiple libraries; a system for researchers & students and a separate set of patient & consumer resources. "Although Mayo Clinic maintains a private library system, visiting students and health care professionals are most welcome to use the traditional and electronic collections on-site. Specialized libraries serving hospitalized patients and their families, consumer health libraries, and special collections and archives related to the history of medicine and the history of Mayo Clinic are also available."
Third ranked Mass General's Library site - - is the first one that specifically states its goal is to support patients. While Ms. Marton decries the Library's placement on the third level of links, she doesn't seem to mind that all of the departments, Oncology, Gynecology, Neurology, etc, are also on the third level. The third navigation level is the first one to offer any webpage links. The first two levels show organization of the web pages into discreet sections. In talking about this third ranked major hospital, Ms. Marton missed the mark by the widest margin. Mass General doesn't have a Medical Library in the sense of a Library that caters to Medical Professionals. That Library is the Boston Medical Library - They jointly support the Medical Schools of Harvard, Boston U, Tufts, & U Mass. Mass General Hospital has three libraries to serve patient's needs; two are for entertainment and one for public health information. Doctors would contact BML for their information needs.
In summary, Ms. Marton is applying a public health principal that simply doesn't exist in this instance. The Medical Libraries associated with these top three hospitals, and I'll warrant the top ten too, don't exist for public health information. Since that isn't their goals, the Medical Library isn't a major portal on their institution website. Of course  Ms. Marton's searches for Hospital Medical Library on the Public web site of these Hospitals didn't find the Public Health Information she wanted. She was looking in the wrong place. The Medical Libraries that don't provide patient support are on the Intranet, not Internet.
By the same token, you're not going to find links to the Staff Library at my institution on our Public Website. It isn't for the public. From the Intranet, I can find all of the resources.
Ms. Marton, you are looking in the wrong place for the information you seek. To decry the Hospital Libraries for not meeting your goals when you aren't a patron of any of those Libraries is the worst form of prejudice. You are judging these Libraries by your standards, not by their goals. When they are meeting their goals, which don't include you, you say they aren't doing their job. I'm sorry, but those Libraries need to be judged on their stated goals and not yours.
J. Shore
Systems Librarian
@7shores on Twitter
  1. Christine Marton (2012): Invisible: The Online Presence of Medical Library Web Pages on Hospital Web Sites, Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 12:1, 14-24. 
  2. Christine Marton (2012): The Online Presence of Hospital Medical Librarians on Hospital Web Sites, Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 12:2, 171-180. 
  3. Christine Marton (2012): The Online Presence of Information Services at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 12:4, 342-350.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Porn Performers in the Library

We’ve heard plenty about Library Patrons watching Porn on Library Computers, but I want to talk about some Library Patrons bringing their own laptops and webcams into the Library and performing Lewd & Lascivious Acts in public for money.

Let’s start with a little education for those that don’t know. There are people out there that get paid to perform sex acts on camera for a watching audience. One of those websites is While the site is Free, the camgirls require “tokens” to perform their act.

Twice in June I learned there were camgirls from the MyFreeCams site performing their act in public in a Library. I had discussed this with a friend and thought that Twitter might be a good way to get the word out to Librarians at that Library so the performance could be halted and the camgirl arrested. When I heard, I went to the site and waited until I could get a screen shot that captured the Library rather than the girl. I then posted that picture (they are below) to Twitter hoping the message would get passed around. In both cases, I was able to provide a general geographic area, but couldn’t even specify city. That meant calling any Library was out. There’s just too many in any given region to call them all. I thought Twitter would be more effective because staff would recognize their own Library. Unfortunately, I got no response.

I hate to make anyone’s job harder and require more frequent walks through the Library, but I think the only way to stop this action is to catch them in the act. If these camgirls made money with these shows, I have to assume they’ll do it again. 

Do you recognize either of these Libraries? 

Can you think of a better method to get the word out to Library Staff?

 On Jun 8th, this camgirl was performing at a Library somewhere in New York (state not city). I suspect it is a University Library since they have a lot of long tables and lamps. There was a person sitting at the far left of that first table who didn’t seem to notice anything amiss.

On Jun 28th, this camgirl was performing from a Library in the Pasadena CA area. The light blue color of the columns and the presence of those columns should be recognizable to that Library’s staff and patrons. Also, this is the second floor or higher as that is a railing in the background

Addendum added on 07/13/12. More pictures of CameronKnight. She was at it again on 07/12. Since the purpose is still to identify the Library, I have obscured her face and breasts. In the top shot, that is her dress around her neck. This Library has lights in the stacks that are on timer switches or motion detectors.

Monday, June 18, 2012

An Open Apology for Twitter Behavior Unbecoming

This post has been percolating a week and I’m still not sure where it is going. I want to start with the meat of the matter. I want to apologize to anyone on Twitter who has interpreted any of my tweets to be rude, inappropriate, or creepy. Those are the words that have been directed at me, so that’s what I’m going to say although I must admit that Creepy bothers me the most.

The backstory: I’ve been active on Twitter about 18 months now. I’ve made some great connections and recieved some outstanding opportunities from connections made on Twitter. This story is unfortunately about the opposite side of the equation. 

Sometime in the past month, I’d discovered someone missing from my timeline. We all know that Twitter occasionally unfollows people for us. So I tried following her but the program said I was blocked. I’ve also experienced that before where I was blocked by accident, so I sent a message from another account asking about it. She never answered and that account was blocked.  At that point it was obvious to a blind man that I'd done something that makes her not want to have any connection to me. Unfortunately, I had no idea what. I tried to shrug it off. I even solicited advice from Twitter and they all told me to ignore it and press on. I tried, I really did, but for some reason, I couldn’t accept the situation as it was. This is someone I thought of as a friend. I’d never met her in person, but we’d had a lot of good interactions. In 20/20 hindsight, I’m glad I asked even if I don’t like the answer. 

Knowing the person wasn’t going to see a tweet from me, I found an email address from earlier interactions and sent a request to find out what I had done wrong? Here’s a portion of the request:
…I don't want to argue or bring drama into your life. I just know that we have had many friendly conversations. I assume whatever I did wrong is something I can apologize for or correct. I also know I can never correct the behavior if I don't know what I did wrong.

I’m not sure how she would feel about me quoting her response, so I’m going to paraphrase it:
During the past few months, you’ve sent some inappropriate and/or sexual tweets to me or others in conversations I was watching. It wasn’t all the time, but enough that I noticed. I didn’t think you meant them in a hurtful way, but it finally got to the point where I couldn’t handle following you anymore. I didn’t think we were close enough friends to confront you about it. To a certain extent, I think it may be generational. I did the easiest thing which was to block you. I really wasn’t sure about answering this query, but there have been times we did get along on Twitter so out of respect for those times I responded. Now, I must insist you leave me alone.

My response (in part):
As you surmised, I did not mean to make you uncomfortable. So I am sorry for that.
Frankly I wish you would have said something before it got this far. Yes, this is a learning experience for me. Messages that sound ok in my voice, don't carry as well in text. 

That was a tough day for me. In many ways I was more confused not less. I’d always thought of my tweets as light-hearted and funny. Yes, some of the tweets had sexual overtures, but they were meant to be funny. I’m a 50 year old, married man; I’m not flirting with anyone.

This is a new means of communication for me. I’ve been sending emails & posting on various forums for a long time. But Text messages and short-form character limited chat is new to me. I thought I was identifying jokes appropriately with emoticons and/or LoL. ROTFL, etc. As most children do, I learned by mimicking those around me.

After the exchange above, I actually tweeted a question to see who else may have felt the same way. One person was brave enough to speak up. Since those tweets are in the public record, I’m going to quote them here. My messages start with J:; their messages with X: (for no reason other than to be random).

X: Personally I find your random sexual overtones in conversations not involving you highly inappropriate, creepy, and a titch crazy.
J: I got a ? about "conversations not involving you." We're all posting in the clear here. How do you tell you're not wanted?
X: It is NEVER, EVER okay to make sexual innuendoes / allusions to any one if the conversation is not directed SPECIFICALLY at you.
X: You may think you're flirting, but many of us feel like you're being predatorily and creepy.
J: I'd like to talk more in a longer form. Please email me an example 7shore on gmail. I don't want anybody to be upset w me.
X: No, I'm not emailing you. I'll put it in this context: You're at a bar. You two two girls having a conversation. You eavesdrop.
X: You jump in the conversation and input something wholly inappropriate and unwarranted. They would tell you to feck off.
X: You ask Y U NO TALK TO ME? It's because you don't sound like a flirty, fun having guy, you sound like a sexual predator.

I still wish she was willing to converse in a longer form. I understand her analogy, but I cannot for the life of me recall a single incidence that seems anything like that scenario. I looked back over one month's tweets and didn't find an example.

I’m still uncertain about how an open Twitter conversation becomes a private event I’m eavesdropping on. As I said, I’m mimicking what I’ve seen. Plenty of conversations start back & forth between 2 people, and then a 3rd or 4th join in and you see tweets running out of space because of all the twitter handles included to keep everyone in.

As I tweeted in response to another question: Because we're all screaming in the parking lot, it is easy for someone (especially me) to butt in where they're not wanted.

I don’t remember ever being the first to bring sexual innuendo into a conversation. I still don’t know why some people took my messages as creepy. 

Here’s what I learned that day and what I decided to do about it:
Some people use Twitter for professional connections. Others chat like they're hanging at the corner bar chatting with the guys. I've been both. I want to continue to be both, but I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable by my actions. So I split into two accounts. One for just Librarians; a professional account for professional conversations. The other for everyone in which I’m free to make jokes with a sexual aspect if I want to. 

Please highlight that aspect. I’m here to joke. That’s my personality. . I like to chat, banter, & party, but it isn't right for everyone and it isn't right with everyone. I do answer serious questions with serious answers, but I also love to joke around. If I can make a smart-alec, sarcastic response, I will.

I thank those who responded with direct concrete answers and I apologize to everyone I may have offended. It was purely unintentional. 

I really wish this had been handled before it got out of control. I wish someone had responded to one of those tweets with “I really don’t think that is an appropriate response to this conversation.” I got plenty of feedback in the line of LoL or ;-), or HaHa. Priceless. Responses that told me the joke had worked. As a comic, I can tell when the audience is going against me and I can change the direction. On Twitter, I only ever got positive response not negative. Communicating with people is the only way to learn. I hope should this come up for you, you'll share your point of view. Everyone won't listen, but those that do will learn something about themselves.

I’ve been appropriately chastised and I have changed my direction. I will be more sensitive in the future and resist the urge to respond immediately with a joke unless I’m 100% sure that it will be appreciated.

I wish anyone that can explain why I was taken as creepy could provide a concrete example. Also because this post won’t be seen by the people that I really need to apologize, I’d like you to advertize it widely.

Apologies again to anyone I may have offended. I assure you it was not my intention.