Habits

I’m feeling like getting back into blogging again.  It was a good, cathartic habit that Twitter came along and mugged with its shiny, sexy modern ways and Facebook nudged into the gutter with its voyeuristic look-at-me-I-made-a-cake feedback gratifications.

A habit.  Yes.  A good one?  In some ways.  Sometimes you can say too much.  Sometimes it can mean a work colleague stumbles across a thoughtless something that needed to come out on a blog just at the moment you would have preferred it had not.  It has happened to me in past, but I have this kind of self-deprecating arrogance that on the whole it’s not been a huge problem.  Plus I censor anything that on reflection seems a little too risque.  Mostly.

The Power of Habit by Charles DuhiggOn the subject of habits, I’ve been actively engaging a few of my own using some methods I came across in this excellent book: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-power-of-habit-charles-duhigg/1103588638

I blame it on the constant companionship of my Barnes and Noble Nook – which is probably the best way of encouraging me to read and the perfect distraction-free single-purpose reading device there is.  I’m waiting for the Nook with Glowlight to become available because it addresses the only slight nagging issue I had which was I needed to have a light nearby when the dusk and night-time started to creep their way across the crystal blue coastline of our American heartland skies.

I’ll spare you from the details of which habits I am conquering – nothing completely obscene, I hasten to add – but well, you know I’m only just getting back into the habit of sharing.  🙂

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This is how a fair trial works…

  1. We all listen to a litany of things about how you did / didn’t do it.
  2. Twenty-four hour news hacks (the kind we would not invite to watch our dogs) give the accused emotive nicknames and spout undiluted vitriol in great gushing splashes against our screens.
  3. All the circumstantial evidence means we just know you did it.
  4. We bay and crow in true lynch-mob style.
  5. The jury go away and look at the actual proof of guilt versus innocence.
  6. They come back and say, based on the evidence you’re innocent.
  7. We do not have an alternative verdict in the USA of “not proven”.
  8. So, quite rightly, you are free.
You see, this is how justice works.  We do not kill people just because we’re ‘fairly certain they did it and besides, they totally acted like they did it’.  We condemn people when there is proof that is so compelling that there is no doubt at all that they did it.

And then we kill them…after a suitable number of double-checks to make sure we got the decision right the first time.  Even then we sometimes kill people for crimes they did not commit or let them out just in the nick of time after their life has rotted almost from view.

This is the crux of the problem.  You can’t give that life back.

 We no longer storm the courthouse and string a screaming unfortunate from a tree limb or streetlamp.  We realize that mob justice is no justice at all, not even if it piques a sense of revenge that must be avenged.  We defer to a proxy of twelve people whom we have determined are good enough to make a fair decision based on what they have seen and heard unsullied by the quality of TV graphics and dramatic on-the-hour soundbites.  When they decide, we allow them to decide for us all.

This is…civility.  This is…how things must be.

Even a man rent on a rack and broken by the spasms of electricity and beatings will not always tell you the truth.  Find the facts.  Show them to our diligent dozen.  Allow perspectives of guilt and innocence to be ascribed.  Even allow lies – as long as we allow the lies to be shown as such.

Short dresses and inexplicable hot body contests make you seem weird, cold, callous or bizarre but they do not prove you a killer.  A knife, a gun, bullet wounds, ligature marks, broken bones, photographic evidence:  these work.  But when there is no proof…then the case is not proved, even if it makes you want to scream MURDERER or write letters of protest and when the case is not proved then you are innocent and you are free to slither or crawl or trot on high-heels in a go-go skirt because that is what freedom means.

The victim is still a victim…however she died, she did.

Skype adds ads

So today Skype have announced that they will start putting adverts out to all customers, even those who pay.  I can see the point, after all it’s all about the money honey.  Isn’t it?

Wait – I have a *paid* account.  In fact – I pay quite  a lot for my Skype account.  Not just a few cents here or there – over a $100 a year plus extra if I call UK-based cell phones or ridiculous ‘easy-to-remember’ numbers for people like the bank or the tax office.

I pay.  I pay a lot.

I do like Skype – really, it’s an awesome service and without it I can pretty much say that it would have been difficult, if not impossible for my wife and I to have met and formed a decent relationship.  We used to use over 2500 minutes a month talking to each other on Skype.  Hours and hours talking to each other made it so we knew each other like we’d gone to school together – despite at that point never having met in person and a physical separation of two continents and 4000 miles.  Skype helped us fall in love.  Skype helped us stay together through tricky traumatic reams of government paperwork and visas.  It played a big part in the arrangements of our first nervous meetings.  It allowed us to cry together, laugh together and grow one year older together.  Skype was there, drenched in tears of happiness the day I called a sleepy future wife to tell her my interview at the US Embassy had gone well and we had the necessary permission for me to fly over permanently and for us to be allowed to marry.

That day was one of the most heart-burstingly happy moments I have ever had.  I know Lisa felt the same way.

Nowadays Skype helps me work.  In fact, without Skype my work would be a quiet message-filled experience snowed under a pile of time-shifted emails.   It means I can hear my mother’s voice, even though she has no computer and it plays a critical part in letting me wave at my sister, my nephew, my Dad and his future wife and pull silly faces at them in a range of strange hats.  Soon Skype might be there as I perform poetry to a foggy rain-damp UK audience whilst I stand, sun-brushed on the balcony of my apartment in the USA.

Skype…you are a good friend.  Please don’t become a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal who drops adverts in my lap and screams sound-bytes in my ears.  I *pay* for you to sit in the audience with me – if you invite along adverts who yell out at the wrong time and ruin the moment I’ll buy a new friend, one who values our friendship and the color of my money…

Calling Vonage and Google Voice – are you listening?

Oh Dior…

Galliano, clearly drunk in the video and quite obviously, in my opinion anyway, a fool – and a rude arrogant one at that.  Apparently he might sue for defamation..good luck with that.

Also; Charlie Sheen…wtf?