Red Lion Hotels — Thank You!

Jun 8, 2014 by

Red Lion Hotels, thank you.

Red Lion Hotels Corporation

Red Lion Hotels Corporation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For today is my Mom’s 67th birthday and she’s in Portland staying at your airport hotel. That’s basically all the info I had–“red…. something hotel by the airport,” she mentioned as I drove her to DFW yesterday.

So this morning, I got on Google and searched “red hotel airport Portland,” and there you were. I logged on to your website’s chat after checking out the Pacific Grille’s menu. The chat service said to call the hotel. I did.

A wonderful young lady answered at the front desk. I said, “Today is my mom’s 67th birthday, and I believe she’s staying there, and I’d like to have breakfast in bed sent to her room. Can you help me?”

She put me on hold and came back a few seconds later saying that no one was answering the phone in the restaurant, but worse, they normally don’t do room service.

BUT, and this is a big one, “But, I am about to get off work and if you’d like, I’d be happy to take care of this for you.”

What?!

“Sure, I’ll place the order and then take the food to your mom’s room.”

I missed the young lady’s name. When she wanted to know about beverages, I instinctively said, “iced tea.” I didn’t realize that in Portland, OR, that’s not even on the menu. “Hey, I’m from Houston,” she said. “I’d drink iced tea for breakfast on Christmas morning! If I can’t swing tea, what other drink, some OJ maybe?”

We agreed.

So about 15 minutes passed and then in came the texts from my daughter. With photos.

Pancake breakfast from the Pacific Grille, Portland's Red Lion Hotel restaurant.

Pancake breakfast from the Pacific Grille, Portland’s Red Lion Hotel restaurant.

IMG_8317

Pancake breakfast from the Pacific Grille, Portland’s Red Lion Hotel restaurant.

Those have to be the biggest hotel restaurant pancakes I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, they’re TEXAS BIG pancakes all the way from Oregon.

Nice. So in summary, Red Lion Hotels, the front desk attendant who got off about 7:30 or 8 a.m. your time PST today, Sunday, June 8, 2014, she needs a pat on the back. She went beyond what was called upon in her duties as a front desk clerk to ensure that my mom has a memory from her 67th birthday, she hopefully won’t soon forget. I’d never even heard of Red Lion Hotels, but next time I’m on the Left Coast, well, I’ll find a way to spend the night.

Thank you. Please ensure this post makes its rounds through marketing and upward in the company, to the manager of the Portland Airport hotel, and most especially, the young lady from Houston who made my mom’s 67th birthday breakfast one she won’t forget.

UPDATE: Sunday, PM:  I received a Tweet back from Red Lion Hotels tonight. They’re going to track down the young lady who helped out this morning and give her a reward.

When I sent a text to Mom letting her know of the RLH tweet she sent the following back:

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.43.23 PM

 

 

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Traffic Fatality Near Certain at 500 Cartwright Rd in Mesquite

Jun 7, 2014 by

Traffic Fatality Near Certain at 500 Cartwright Rd in Mesquite

I have been writing in this space for more than a year now that a traffic fatality is going to happen at 500 W. Cartwright Road on the borders of Mesquite and Balch Springs. Thankfully, I’ve not been proven correct yet, but the past 48 hours have produced multiple opportunities for that to be true.

June 6 2014 accident B

June 6 2014 accident, 11:30 p.m.

In the past 48 hours now, there have been two serious accidents with west-bound drivers who, when they have stopped spinning, have been facing back toward the east in the middle of this very dangerous intersection. The second one happened tonight, Friday, June 6, 2014 about 11:30 p.m.  (See night photo)

At about 1 p.m. today, I video taped Mesquite ISD school bus 205 not only violate district policy by making a turn into this intersection during a red light (I don’t blame this driver for doing this, the light holds a ridiculous amount of time and people coming out of the complex probably honk. Problem is, this is a very dangerous intersection), the driver also basically ran the light. ( I had decided earlier in the day not to make an issue out of this, but, given there have been two significant accidents in this very intersection in the past 48 hours, it appears to me that showing how even an MISD bus driver disregarding the law in this intersection shows the other side of the  problem.)

Two days ago, a car going toward 635 crashed all over the intersection about 7 .m. 

Last year, and over the past four years, there have been multiple accidents of drivers running into the phone poles and AT&T equipment in the southeast corner of the intersection. And the fencing along the road in the curve has been taken down because it kept getting plowed thru.

On at least three occasions this school year after dropping off my daughter at Mesquite High School, I’ve noted drivers going east on Cartwright have also disregarded the flashing red lights on the school bus as it has stopped to pick local kids up for school. They stopped at the complex just west of here, but then one day I saw at least five cars drive right past the bus while its red lights were flashing like crazy.

What is very likely to happen in this intersection, however, is that a resident(s) of Stoneleigh Apartments is/are going to be killed while waiting for the light to change and a vehicle that’s just gotten off Interstate 635 at the Bruton/Cartwright Rd exit flies into them at high speed heading east. 

THE SOLUTION

The timing of stop lights of many of the intersecting roads in Mesquite is ridiculous. If you’re not on a main road, good luck in not sitting at a light for an inordinate amount of time. The ones along Beltline between Galloway/Beltline and Mesquite High School for as long as three minutes.

The scene of a wreck on Cartwright on June 4, 2014.

The scene of a wreck on Cartwright on June 4, 2014.

But what happens either east-to-west, or west-to-east on Cartwright Road is that those coming off 635 headed east, or those going toward 635 from Cartwright and Beltline, often exceed the 40 mph posted speed limit and around the curve right at Stoneleigh they go. Those going east don’t realize the road curves to the northeast and they go flying into the AT&T cable and phone boxes and telephone polls,

Another crazy-assed Mesquite driver took out the AT&T phone box on June 22, 2013. A month and five days, it's not been fixed. Now there's a blue tent over it.

Another crazy-assed Mesquite driver took out the AT&T phone box on June 22, 2013. A month and five days, it’s not been fixed. Now there’s a blue tent over it.

or they come from the east going west and don’t realize the road curves and they go flying into the light poles in the median.

Either way, the city of Mesquite is poised for a good suing when someone finally winds up dead in this intersection. They have had ample time to realize this is a problem and Stoneleigh Apartments has pleaded with the city to do something about the timing of the traffic light in front of the apartments.

1) Strict enforcement needs to happen on Cartwright Road for those going over 40 mph in either direction. 

2) The timing on the light at Stoneleigh needs to be further adjusted so that it is ABSOLUTELY impossible to go from Beltline to Stoneleigh, or from the two lights at 635 to Stoneleigh and make it thru that traffic light without having to stop.  PERIOD.

3) There probably need to be some warning treads placed on Cartwright as one proceeds from west-to-east toward Stoneleigh at the apartment complexes just beforehand to alert drivers that something different is ahead. It’s going to one day become Deadman’s Curve if action isn’t taken. The same thing needs to happen in the curve after one has come across the bridge over the Butterfly Park Trail.

4) The portable “You’re Going This Fast” radar sign has not ever been located in this area of Cartwright Road. I’m not sure it will help, but it’d be one more step to help regular drivers realize there is an issue here. 

5) When school starts up, Mesquite Police need to sit in the Stoneleigh Apartment parking lot a few mornings and wait for those to come by who are too important/busy/or dumb to stop when the bus is there picking up the kids and the red lights are flashing. 

Even with these provisions, there’s still likely to be a problem.  For the 11 years I’ve lived in the Mesquite/Balch Springs area, MPD has been running radar out on 635, operating one of the most active speed enforcement zones in North Texas, and on any given day, you an see them with multiple cars stopped or those who they miss just flying thru.

This is a major issue in the Balch Springs/Mesquite area. Someone, regrettably, is going to lose their life because of a driver going too fast in either direction of Cartwright. Mark it down. I dearly wish the city of Mesquite would take some serious immediate actions before it’s too late.

 

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City of Mesquite, we continue to have a traffic issue

Jun 5, 2014 by

City of Mesquite, we continue to have a traffic issue in front of Stoneleigh Apartments

It was March 8 2014, that I last wrote about the dangerous traffic condition on Cartwright Road in Mesquite, Texas in front of the Stoneleigh apartments. 

I noted then that there continues to be a very serious and dangerous issue with the timing of the traffic lights and the speed of Mesquite drivers. I had mainly been writing about west to east traffic.

Last year, there were multiple issues, also noted on the site. 

This morning, I left to go gas up at 7 a.m. and to get a bite for breakfast before heading off to appointments. When I pulled into a local restaurant, a MPD cruiser went west on Cartwright running code and clearly kicking it. Behind him was an ambulance, then Engine 1, and then the Mesquite Fire Department ladder truck. When I got my food, I made my way west down Cartwright to come home, but after crossing over the Butterfly Trail bridge, I soon saw that everything had stopped in the middle of the intersection entrance of Stoneleigh apartments and Cartwright Road.

I did a U-Turn, went all the way back to Belt Line, turned right, went out to 635, back to the Bruton/Cartwright exit and then right again to try to get to the other side of the entrance. That took a good 15 minutes to go around and get back to the entrance.

The June 5, 2014 Accident

This morning there was a blue car all over the intersection in the west-bound lanes of Cartwright. From what I could tell, it was somehow a one-car accident. That or a wrecker already had gotten one of the cars out.  There were car parts all over the intersection. The ambulance pulled off once I finally got to the entrance of the apartment complex.

Cartwright June 5 B Cartwright june 5

The problem here is that this continues to be a dangerous situation. The timing on the lights in Mesquite onto main streets is bad enough, but sitting, waiting to come out of Stoneleigh onto Cartwright to go toward 635 is a safety hazard with these foke coming down either way like there’s no tomorrow and wide open on the throttle.

This is only going to get fixed if Mesquite begins to do more to fix

 

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The Day After The Snowden Interview

May 29, 2014 by

The Day After The Snowden Interview

Like many Americans, I watched the NBC hourlong show about Brian Williams‘ interview of Edward J. Snowden from last week in Moscow with great intrigue. For almost a year now, we’ve heard him being defined by others (In public relations and political campaigns that’s something you never want to let happen) but last night’s interview basically amounted to this–he handed President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the NSA, White House officials and members of Congress who have tried to characterize him in whatever bad ways they could their asses.

I remember years go listening to Rush Limbaugh and him talking about the shock that Ross Perot had from doing a network interview and thinking it was going to be fair going and coming out on the other side with Perot’s ass being handed to him. Before watching last night, I wondered if the same thing wasn’t about to happen to 30-year-old Snowden.

Remarkably, however, he got almost an hour of prime time to say what he wanted to say, and calmly, collectively, dissecting what’s been said about him and then launching an all out offensive attack on those who have sought to demonize him. And you could tell, what he said affected Brian Williams and the confidence of Snowden in the interview I have no doubt affected how NBC portrayed it last night. In other words, Snowden gave them little opportunity to tear him down with what he said. He was holding court and all the cards.

Secretary of State John Kerry telling Edward Snowden to Man Up and come home and face the music.

Secretary of State John Kerry telling Edward Snowden to Man Up and come home and face the music.

John Kerry

I saw the huff and puff interview that Secretary of State Kerry gave about how Kerry should come home and “face the music.”  NBC chief political reporter Chuck Todd said he was “Angry.”  If you think about it, it plays like President Bennett, played by Donald Mofatt in Tom Clancy‘s movie Clear and Present Danger telling Jack Ryan “How dare you come into this office and bark at me like some little junkyard dog? I am the President of the United States!” Mr. Kerry’s comments almost sounded the same way, same voice, same words. Except to me, if Mr. Kerry is angry, he needs to step up the intensity of it.

The Problem In Deciding Who Is Right

Here’s where I’m presently with all of this.

The government says that Snowden has jeopardized all sorts of assets, systems and people because of what he’s done. Yet Catch 22 says they can’t say exactly what because it’d further compromise national security, but then again, would it?  We just don’t know.  We can’t know.

Snowden says the government can do things like turn your phone on when it’s off and listen to and watch what you’re doing thru the microphone and camera on it. But he hasn’t cited any examples, (at least none have been released) that they’re actually doing that on any regular basis to random citizens. There are accounts where the FBI has done this in drug and conspiracy cases, but that’s different than saying they can do it to anyone. If I own a gun I can shoot someone with it, too. That doesn’t mean that’s what I’m doing with it day in and day out.

Response In Washington

I noticed that The New York Times buried the story about Williams and Snowden way down on their front web page today. CNN is back to MH 370.  The Washington Post has a photo of Snowden and Williams and a story, but it’s not lead. The LA Times is worried about greenhouse omissions. The Dallas Morning News‘ website’s top story today is a column and a story about when a man should pay when going on a date.

So either the White House has launched a highly successful suppression campaign, other networks don’t want to hype what happened on NBC and not their air, or the Snowden story isn’t that important.

And that’s a shame because this is something that has an impact on all of us. And we all know Washington politicians aren’t going to do a darned thing unless their phones start ringing.

Glenn Greenwald

The other thing I was glad about last night is that the focus didn’t get to be about Glenn Greenwald and just his book. Can you imagine how he must feel, ego aside, he flew again all the way to Moscow to be on TV for 20-30 seconds, maybe a minute.  That’s not a great use of time to be running around selling his book….

 

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Glenn Greenwald Is Violating What He Said In His Own Words

May 24, 2014 by

Glenn Greenwald recently published his book, No Place To Hide, on how he was contacted by Edward J. Snowden and went to Hong Kong to have 10 days of face-to-face meetings with him about the NSA files he allegedly amassed while working in the US intelligence community. The book offers many insights, some which I feel like I’ve read a dozen times on the Internet already over the past 12 months, but there is new information contained therein. Greenwald goes to great lengths to lay out in the book why he participated, and the personal observations about motive in Snowden and himself. Problem is, less than three weeks after the book went on sale, he’s violating the premises he established in 240-plus pages, which is making me wonder what else he’s willing to compromise.

NBC to air exclusive with Edward Snowden May 28, 2014 even though Greenwald says in his book, they have fought off this very behavior.

NBC to air exclusive with Edward Snowden May 28, 2014 even though Greenwald says in his book, they have fought off this very behavior.

I’m confused.  In the book Greenwald dedicates an entire chapter attacking many in the Fourth Estate and their efforts to demonize himself and Snowden.  He then counters arguments about how leaking the top secret materials wasn’t being done to inflate the egos of either Snowden or Greenwald among the two paragraphs that follow:

“…Snowden was determined to disappear from sight, as he said, to do no interviews. He understood that the media love to personalize every story, and he wanted to keep the focus on NSA surveillance, not on him. True to his word, Snowden refused all media invitations. Brian Williams dispatched several different representatives to make his case. Snowden could have spent all day and night on the most influential television shows, with the world watching him, had he wanted to do that.

 “But he was unmovable. I conveyed the requests and he declined them, to avoid taking attention away from the revelations. Strange behavior for a fame-seeking narcissist.” (Pages 222-223)

So here’s the thing. Brian Williams, three weeks after the release of the Greenwald book, is advertising that this past week he flew to Moscow and met several hours with Edward Snowden and has interviewed Greenwald.

In an effort to not be critical or demonize Greenwald, as he so carefully sets up in the book that he doesn’t want anyone to do, that he, Snowden et al have worked hard NOT to be the story, then how come so closely after the release of the book, are they doing the very things in the book that they said they have stood steadfastly against doing?

To me this amazingly weakens many of the contentions that Greenwald seeks so hard to establish in No Place To Hide. He’s the defender of the concept that Snowden is not seeking press attention, and now NBC is harping about their exclusive with both men for a May 28th exclusive to run 10 Eastern/9 p.m. Central.

Yes, this is a marketing ploy to sell more books, but it runs contrary to the very points established in the book. Mr. Greenwald, if you want to have credibility about why you participated in the leaks, shouldn’t you remain true to ALL of the arguments you’ve laid out in the book and not just the ones now that are going to help you sell more?

Me thinks denial of personal ambition and ego should be made of sterner stuff….

 

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Wordfence Security for WordPress Has Opened My Eyes

May 22, 2014 by

Wordfence Security for WordPress Has Opened My Eyes

There’s a lot of noise about Web security these days and one has to wonder how much of it is inflated to sell software and services and how much of it is real. With the release of Glenn Greenwald’s book this month, No Place To Hide, about Edward J. Snowden and national security, the speculation is to be raised even more. Wordfence Alerts

Months ago we wouldn’t have believed how much goes on in trying to attack a website. That was until we began religiously employing the WordPress plugin WORDFENCE to every site we manage.

That has been an eye-opening experience. Even websites for smaller local clients constantly are bombarded by IP addresses, most often in other countries, trying to break into their Admin login and damage the site.

Alerts constantly come in from Wordfence because a bot in Europe has been targeted against a client, this site or DaddyClaxton.com. How it would strategically benefit a group in Europe, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, the Netherlands, or wherever to gain access to these sites is unimagineable, but regardless, the battle goes on nearly 365/7 and it is constant.

We write this in hopes of two things. 1) Raising your awareness that if you’re running a WordPress site and not using Wordfence, you probably should be just so you’re aware of how hard others are trying to get into your site. 2) You’d better have some fairly strong passwords, and you might want to delete the ADMIN login all together and use another person or name as such. It appears most of the bot attacks our clients, and we get, are preprogrammed to use Admin as the user name and if it isn’t even in your WordPress system, you’re already miles ahead of them.

Wordfence can be configured so that you get an email every time someone is locked out from trying to hack into your site. Or, you can choose not to be notified. It also can be set up to send someone a notification for every time someone with admin capabilities accesses your site,  just in case someone nefarious actually does get in, you’ll know it immediately.

It’s a shame this is what has become of the Internet, but it’s also a fact of life, it’s not going to go away. Wordfence. You need it. And if bots are hammering away so hard at minor WordPress sites, think of how many are programmed to get into your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts once they know your email address….

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