And You Want Me To Believe This Is Friendly?? ~ Late Evening Thoughts

An article in the news today allowed me to look back at an earlier article about the same subject. The article today was about Internet censorship ~ it involved several major players: AT & “We’re not the old/new ma bell” T, NB “how dare you post a show we’ve posted on YouTube” C, and Micro “we own the internet” soft.

At first I thought it was something that wasn’t going to go very far, very soon ~ then I read this paragraph:

“. . . AT&T has been talking to technology companies, and members of the MPAA and RIAA, for the last six months about implementing digital fingerprinting techniques on the network level.”

It was those lovely MPAA and RIAA letters that gave me pause. I have thought for sometime that when a major entertainment group is threatened by new technology and/or advances they react as a lumbering dinosaur. There is a lot of noise, fury and damage while desperately clinging to the old vines of doing business as the vines appear to be rotting out from under them.

While lamenting the decline of CD sales (and the profit they bring to the RIAA) the blame is being placed on the evil people who download. This has resulted in court cases involving elderly grandmothers and very young children … obviously the ring leaders determined to bring down the entertainment industry as they know it. The fact that artists have succeeded by using the Internet to showcase AND release their material seems incidental as they cling to an aged business model.

And recently the RIAA decided that uploading a song you purchased from YOUR music player to YOUR computer is a mortal sin worthy of death by flogging or another lawsuit. Heaven forbid that you would even THINK of burning onto a CD!

Here is the article in full (I’ve also included the link in the article to the previous story)…

January 8, 2008, 7:07 pm
AT&T and Other ISPs May Be Getting Ready to Filter
By Brad Stone

Tags: at and t, CES, content filtering, Copyright, digital fingerprinting, NBC, piracy

For the past fifteen years, Internet service providers have acted – to use an old cliche – as wide-open information super-highways, letting data flow uninterrupted and unimpeded between users and the Internet.

But ISPs may be about to embrace a new metaphor: traffic cop.

At a small panel discussion about digital piracy here at NBC’s booth on the Consumer Electronics Show floor, representatives from NBC, Microsoft, several digital filtering companies and telecom giant AT&T said the time was right to start filtering for copyrighted content at the network level.

Such filtering for pirated material already occurs on sites like YouTube and Microsoft’s Soapbox, and on some university networks.

Network-level filtering means your Internet service provider – Comcast, AT&T, EarthLink, or whoever you send that monthly check to – could soon start sniffing your digital packets, looking for material that infringes on someone’s copyright.

“What we are already doing to address piracy hasn’t been working. There’s no secret there,” said James Cicconi, senior vice president, external & legal affairs for AT&T.

Mr. Cicconi said that AT&T has been talking to technology companies, and members of the MPAA and RIAA, for the last six months about implementing digital fingerprinting techniques on the network level.

“We are very interested in a technology based solution and we think a network-based solution is the optimal way to approach this,” he said. “We recognize we are not there yet but there are a lot of promising technologies. But we are having an open discussion with a number of content companies, including NBC Universal, to try to explore various technologies that are out there.”

Internet civil rights organizations oppose network-level filtering, arguing that it amounts to Big Brother monitoring of free speech, and that such filtering could block the use of material that may fall under fair-use legal provisions — uses like parody, which enrich our culture.

Rick Cotton, the general counsel of NBC Universal, who has led the company’s fights against companies like YouTube for the last three years, clearly doesn’t have much tolerance for that line of thinking.

“The volume of peer-to-peer traffic online, dominated by copyrighted materials, is overwhelming. That clearly should not be an acceptable, continuing status,” he said. “The question is how we collectively collaborate to address this.”

I asked the panelists how they would respond to objections from their customers over network level filtering – for example, the kind of angry outcry Comcast saw last year, when it was accused of clamping down on BitTorrent traffic on its network. Read the article about THIS lovely issue HERE )

“Whatever we do has to pass muster with consumers and with policy standards. There is going to be a spotlight on it,” said Mr. Cicconi of AT&T.

After the session, he told me that ISPs like AT&T would have to handle such network filtering delicately, and do more than just stop an upload dead in its tracks, or send a legalistic cease and desist form letter to a customer. “We’ve got to figure out a friendly way to do it, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

The article appeardin The New York Times today January 9th.

It was this from the article that gave me the title of tonight’s post:

“Whatever we do has to pass muster with consumers and with policy standards. There is going to be a spotlight on it,” said Mr. Cicconi of AT&T.

After the session, he told me that ISPs like AT&T would have to handle such network filtering delicately, and do more than just stop an upload dead in its tracks, or send a legalistic cease and desist form letter to a customer. “We’ve got to figure out a friendly way to do it, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

Oh yes, a friendly way to do it. Maybe they could hire consultants from MPAA and RIAA since they are having such success with what they are doing.

—more tomorrow

A Very Special Day ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Today was a very special day for me. I went to my eight … uh … now nine year old granddaughter’s birthday dinner at the restaurant she requested. It is unfortunate that her birthday falls so close behind Christmas ~

This is also special to me, because it was the first birthday I’ve been privileged to share with her. During the progression of the disease, I thought (mind reading) that my children didn’t want anything to do with me after the divorce. At the same time they thought (mind reading) that I didn’t want anything to do with them. A wonderful lack of communication skills on both sides.

During the crisis I’ve mentioned in the last posts, when I disappeared off the face of the earth, my Mother called my eldest son, who called my daughter. It was decided that he would fly into town and they both would try to find me. It was a search worthy of “Cold Case” or “CSI.” It took a lot of work, but eventually they turned up where I was being treated ~ I’ll fill in the details in the next couple of posts.

What DID happen the night we talked, we all found out the assumptions we had been operating under and just how wrong they were. It been a steady progression of joy and gratitude since then.

And that brings me to tonight. We all overate appetizers and dinner and then she began to open her gifts. Of course, Grandpa did a couple of gifts… I got her a star bear while would allow her to put her name on a star ~ with the coordinates. And a sewing machine just her size and speed as she is always wanting to use my daughter’s large and complicated one ~ which is fairly difficult for small hands to deal with and stitches way too fast.

The best surprise to everyone occurred when the waiter brought the cake. As we were sitting down and deciding what to order, I realized that some fun gesture was needed to mark the occasion. I left the table and talked extensively to the bartender. We were discussing fun non-alcoholic drinks and she made the suggestion of a type of margarita that isn’t ordered very much, but which would be great without “booze.” Soooo when the cake arrived these frothy pink (her favorite color) drinks arrived with whipped cream on the top. I then had everyone at the table propose a toast to her … and after each one she was treated to clinking glasses and “hear-hear!” Ah yes, everyone had to toast her which was quite a surprise, but being the oldest at the table, I think I pulled rank …

I am somewhat saddened at the ones I had missed, but was incredibly grateful that I managed to be there to share this one. I am also grateful that for as long as I’m alive, I’ll be able to share in all my grandkid’s birthdays.

–more tomorrow

The New Year Begins With A Look Back (part 3) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Life is a journey not for us to be lowered into the grave all pretty and looking rested. It is a journey for us to slide into the grave broadside ~ banged up, used up but still proclaiming ~
Wow!!! What a ride…WOW!!! What a RIDE!!!

When I left off the last post, I mentioned that EMT, Police and Fire had arrived at the complex and all of them in my apartment. I had sat down in the chair by the computer and awaited the arrival. I had not realized that as many people would show up. I also had not realized I was going to be asked so many questions ~ some of which did not make sense. Please understand, at that time I was without any money, no resources, no insurance and no place to stay. I really didn’t think there was anyone that would help me. I became at that moment completely homeless and penniless. A very interesting situation to find myself.

Finally they decided I would not be able to walk and they brought a gurney in to take me to the ambulance. This meant that I would be taken through the courtyard of the apartment complex, which was full of residents trying to find out what was going on. It was not an exit I was looking forward to but I really didn’t have much choice in the matter. This involved taking me through the living room door into the office and down six steps. I was barely aware of who was there … except for three people, one of whom I gestured to come up and I held her hand for a long time. I had no idea what was going to happen to me, and for the first time in a very long time I was very, very frightened.

There was a discussion in the ambulance about where I wanted to be taken. They suggested this very nice and very expensive hospital ~ not really an option. I wanted to be taken to the level 1 trauma center here, which also treats people without question of money and/or insurance. I finally convinced them to take me there. I realize now that I must have had a concussion of some type from the fall that created the very large gash to the bone in my forehead. The ambulance people were very concerned that I stay awake and kept asking me “stuff.” I had to describe at least three times what I had done, how I did it and with what ~ all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

I have no memory of the arrival at the hospital ER room. This particular ER I had written about before last December and didn’t realize how accurate it would be.

The trauma team
all wear
black shirts.
Around them
an occasional
flash of
white whirling
about.

I don’t think
I would
want to wake
up surrounded
by black shirts.
There are times
my life is
black enough
as it is.

It is true, most of the team wear black t-shirts saying trauma on the back. There are memories of the black shirts all around getting me undressed ~ and damn it was cold in there. There was poking, prodding, turning me this way and that, many questions I don’t remember. Finally two white coats were suddenly there. All I could remember was a very, very old song ~ “They’re coming to take me away … hee hee. They’re coming to take me away … ho ho. The little men in the little white coats are coming to take me away.”

All I wanted to do was sleep … but there were a number of forms to sign ~ I had left my glasses back in the apartment, and couldn’t read any of them. There were some discussions that occurred. Finally, there were nothing but white coats around me, and all of them were concerned with the gash in my forehead and evidently the concussion. I kept trying to tell them about my neck … and they kept poking the forehead and shining a flashlight in my eyes.

One of them finally ~ begrudgingly ~ looked at the slits in my neck. I learned a new hospital term. Ordinarily when there is a problem that is serious, the term is “Do something STAT!” I’ve seen it in television shows, read it in books and heard it used even in that very ER. THIS time when one of his fingers literally went into one of the slits on my neck ~ quite deeply. I got the hear the new term: “Oh Shit!” I thought it a rather interesting replacement, but who was I to argue??

—more tomorrow

A Not So Elegant Timewaster ~ Mid-Morning Thoughts

Are you really frustrated? Is someone in your office driving you nuts? Are the kids driving you absolutely wild? This should take care of all that!! My youngest grandaughter introduced me to this “game” and I have to say … it’s very funny.

If you are at work, you might want to turn your speakers down a little for this one ~ people might wonder exactly what you are doing ….

Enjoy and feel better …. OK, just enjoy!!!

O O P P S S ! ~ Late Afternoon Thoughts

I meant to add this to last night’s post. When I flew up to Montana to speak at my Mother’s memorial service as I was preparing my remarks, I found this saying conveniently attached to the candy jar. As a matter of fact, it fell off as I walked by …

Life is a journey not for us to be lowered into the grave all pretty and looking rested. It is a journey for us to slide into the grave broadside ~ banged up, used up but still proclaiming (shouting?) ~

Wow!!! What a ride…WOW!!! What a RIDE!!!

—more later

The New Year Begins With A Look Back (part 2) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

As I mentioned in the last post ~ this story I’m telling has undergone some deep thinking an reflection, soul searching and hesitation.

In the last post I said, it was around the 28th of August that I quit my job and supposedly had to move out of my apartment within 72 hours. I had no plans, no place I knew of to go, but somehow, in the sickness of my mind I was convinced that it would all work out. Of course, it wasn’t going to and certainly didn’t. During the 2 1/2 months that I was managing I was also managing to cut myself off from everyone. I still talked to my Mother twice a day, as I had for almost two years, but even she was beginning to suspect things were not right.

And what did I do for the 72 hours that I needed to make plans and provisions? I drank. When you know that your replacement is going to be coming into the office ~ connected to the apartment ~ at 9:00am, any sane person would sneak out of the apartment around 7:00am and drink until it was safe to go back … right? Trust me on this one, there are very few bars worth visiting at 7:00 in the morning.

I would sleep a little, toss and turn, pace the floor and then sleep a little more. Rinse and repeat.

By now, I was not only at the bottom of the cliff, I was under the rocks at the bottom and trying to dig down even further. I kept trying to find ways to sleep the entire night, but nothing worked ~ even overdosing on the over-the-counter medicines that use Benadryl as the only ingredient. By now, I had stopped calling anyone I knew, was refusing to answer my cell phone and decided that I was going to have to disappear to get out of the hell I was living.

–strong stuff follows …you have been warned…

Sometime during the night of the 31st (I believe I have the dates right), I came to a terrible conclusion. The only way out that I could see was to end everything … permanently, finally and absolutely. No partial or half measures. This was going to be it. The final curtain. From this point on, there are flashes of what happened and what happened to me. I do not have all the pieces and may never get them back … and probably don’t want to.

I knew that I needed to get it done early in the morning, before anyone arrived in the office. Now understand that one office door was four steps from my bedroom and the other door was 7 steps to the living room. Not exactly the world’s biggest space and certainly too close to the apartment to hide anything. But I managed to — I managed to.

When I made that decision. it was as if a light switch had been turned off, there was no going back and no pain (that’s important later). And so I committed suicide. No, I did not make a mistake on the verbs. I should not be alive, however, I am so grateful that it didn’t succeed and that I have gone through all that I have been through. I am a very different person from what I was a number of months ago – but, you know what ~ I’m also still the same.

I took my belt and made a loop around the clothes rack in the closet because that was the strongest place and I knew it would hold my weight. A few quick breaths and I put my neck in the loop ~ forcefully. The quickness that blackness overcame me was surprising. I was done. Unfortunately to my sick mind, but fortunately for me ~ I woke up on the floor with a large gash in my forehead down to the bone – that wasn’t bleeding and didn’t hurt. OK, this obviously wasn’t going to work … there must be some other way.

Now, in all honesty, someone in their mind would have simply stopped after the belt failure (makes it sound like a vacuum cleaner!)and said: “Wow! That didn’t work! I should stop here.” But. as I said, the light switch had been turned off. I remembered the eXacto knife I had recently purchased. I also realized that my replacement was due to arrive, and hopefully would stay out of my apartment until I was done. I literally behaved like a secret agent on assignment and slithered into the bathtub and pulled the shower curtain closed. I was determined not to leave a mess for someone to clean-up.

Now, doesn’t that sound healthy? Not wanting to leave a mess? I’m about to do the most selfish act a human being can do, leave people devastated and angry … destroy any chance to accomplish anything with my life and I’m worried about a MESS?!?!?

I’d read enough books and seen enough TV shows to know what I needed to do. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into detail … if you want that, you can email and ask. Let’s just say, I ended up with three horizontal cuts in the side of my neck and very little blood. The most interesting moment was when my replacement’s boyfriend came in and used the toilet while I was ensconced in the bathtub. It was at that point I finally realized this was NOT working … and had run completely out of options. I very calmly made my way out of the bathtub ~ with my knees it was not an easy thing to do ~ and walked through the living room into the office and announced: “I’ve just tried to kill myself, please call 911.” I then went and sat calmly in the living room and awaited whoever was going to arrive.

I have no idea what she said to the 911 dispatcher, but shortly there were police, a fire truck and EMTs in the place. I was bandaged, tried to answer the many questions that were being asked by various uniformed folks. The one that sticks (sort of) in my mind was: “Do you have any sharp objects on your person that will hurt me if I touch you?”

–part three tomorrow night

Ok, Maybe I’m Not Reading This Correctly ~ Early Morning Thoughts

As we approach the New Year with all its resolutions, hopes and dreams (more about that later) … perhaps a reflection on some of the idiocy of last year would be in order.

I normally don’t provide a link to another web site, but in this case ~ the stories are worth reading in their home blog and perhaps you might find the site as interesting as I do. These three blood-pressure raising tales are true stories that have been published on the This Is True website. (OK, his copyright had something to do with it as well ~)

One involves police unable to release pictures of escaped murderers because….well, I’ll let the spokesman speak for himself at the end of the story. Another involves a blind boy who is not being allowed to take his seeing eye dog to school (the principal wanted him arrested) and last but NOT least – a town deciding to go to plan B . . . at a lot more money.

Hopefully, you are intrigued to visit
Randy Cassingham’s “This is True” Blog , and relish the stories ….

about New Year’s later ~

Thankful? Grateful? ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

For those who have been following this blog (even during the unintended/intended) absence ~ I want to let you know that my Mother is slipping away. While this is not a totally joyful occasion, please be aware that I am totally at peace with what is going on. I have no unresolved issues with her, no excess baggage that has to be dealt with. I will, however, be flying to Montana tomorrow afternoon and will return to Texas late Wednesday night. Trust me – where my mother is there is NO computer connection (sorry Laurie!!!) so I will report on the trip next weekend.

Now, for the heart of this posting — I was talking to a couple of friends this week, one is an addict and the other a really hard-core alcoholic. We were discussing being thankful and grateful ~ and the difference between them. Some of what I am posting relates directly to them, but thought about it, I realized the questions related to everyone.

Am I/you/we grateful?

Supposedly we are celebrating being thankful this week ~ but it appears that the Thanksgiving part has been shoved off the shelves for the next event in the calendar. But, has that spirit of being grateful vanished from the shelves of my life as well? Am I truly grateful?

Am I grateful for a place? For the shelter from more than just the elements of weather ~ but grateful for the shelter sometimes from others and sometimes even from myself?

Am I grateful for myself? for the who/what that I am? Am I grateful for the recovery from addiction(s) help me keep my life in balance? Am I grateful for the possible metal diagnosis that will keep me very aware of what is going on around me and within me ~ perhaps for the rest of my life?

Am I grateful for what I can do? Am I grateful for what I may be unable to do? And grateful for those who respect my limitations, but do not baby them either? And am I grateful for those who don’t?

Am I grateful for my frustrations? Am I grateful for what I’m not being allowed to do? Am I grateful for the road-blocks in my way? Am I grateful for the mountains that seem insurmountable that I know I must go over as I unable to go around them ~ of under them?

Am I grateful for others? The ones who greet me on the way by? It’s easy to be grateful for the ones I like, but what about the ones that I don’t? Perhaps those are there to help me learn ~ such as patience, tolerance and long suffering (and they can make me suffer!) Perhaps by being grateful the annoyance will fade over time.

Am I grateful for what I have? While many of us have very little, there are those who have even less. Of course there will always be those who have even more, but am I able to be grateful for those as well?

Perhaps the universe will not trust me with more until I am truly grateful for all I have.

When I become grateful for all these things, then my heart will be at peace…my life can come back to manageability.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Something Borrowed ~ Very Early Evening Thoughts

Forgive my silence over the last couple of days, but things have gotten a little out of hand over the last 72 hours. While not completely in a bad sense … just in an exhausting sense. Of course, there will be some stories to tell about what happened, but for tonight … I’m going to borrow from an article that really meant something to me the other day:

The Facebooking of America by Suzanne Fields:

Every generation is sure that its social and cultural trends are here to stay. When history moved slowly before the dawn of the electronic media, it might have seemed so. But with instant communication through cell phones, fax machines, e-mail and Internet meeting places, such as Facebook and YouTube, cultural trends accelerate dramatically. The future as imagined by Generations X, Y or Z is easily blown away by the high velocity winds of change.


You can read the entire article —>here<— ~ I would have reprinted the article, but I couldn't get permission. I think you will enjoy it as much as I did being of …ahem…. a certain age.

—more complex tales and thoughts tomorrow

Article trackback link: http://rss.townhall.com/trackback/www/f38cf657-27f9-4df0-9263-e5b4d12fb3ae/

Complex Complex Tales ~ Late Morning Thoughts

This has been a very difficult week. One of the managers from a sister property “disappeared” on Saturday afternoon and no one had officially seen or heard from her since. I say officially, because there was some information that indicated she was at least alright and had not been in the hospital or such.

Monday morning I and another manager had to take over the office. This involved drilling out the locks as she had taken the keys to everything with her. As you have learned from previous posts drilling and changing locks is not exactly my specialty. I discovered that it was even less of a specialty for the other manager. When we were finished the front of the office looked like a tool shop with metal shavings everywhere.

When going into a situation such as this, the first concern is ~ of course ~ the money. We are a business that does not accept cash or checks ~ only money orders. This eliminates some very serious potential headaches. However, there are places that will cash money orders without even looking to see who they are made out to or what kind of endorsement they carry. This, at first glance, did not appear to be an issue. There are also several programs in place that prevent something such as that happening. It doesn’t completely stop it, but it makes finding out if that happens almost immediate.

Now, of course, we have two managers that are not at their properties ~ trying to make sense of someone else’s.

–more to come