Friday, June 23, 2006

The Best Thing You're Not Listening To

The Gabe Dixon Band.
"Ever After":

There is no psychology, no amount of prayer
That can cure the pain when you're not there.
Cause this is not supposed to be
How a love should look
After you have closed the story book.

Wow. I suck.

I can hardly believe that it is June 22, and I haven't written in so long. Suffice to say, I have no excuse... I haven't been traveling, or doing anything exceptional really... although tomorrow I depart on a two week trip and I've smartly decided not to bring my trusty Apple with me (Vancouver, anyone?). So, there will be many more weeks without an entry.

However, in my absence, I will leave you this. Not only does it make me feel very, very small, it makes me feel like I'm a big baby for crying over "spilt milk," shall we say. And, what would a video be without a dedication? So this is for SF who has always affectionately (??) referred to me as "monkey."

For your viewing pleasure, may I present, Super Mom.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

And maybe even Tivo (gasp! Did I say that??).

So, as a marketer, I get the whole rage against the Tivo revolution thing. It could spark a toilet bowl effect: no advertising means no money for networks which means no money for developing quality programming (alright, alright. Who am I kidding? What I really mean by "quality" is Laguna Beach, Top Chef, Project Runway and the plethora of other primetime shows that I so enjoy). How's the money train going to keep on chugging?

The coolest thing about innovation is that it forces the whole one-up-em thing-- for both new entrants and the establishment (if they stand a chance of staying in business, that is). And guess what? The establishment has done it. ABC is letting viewers watch episodes of last season's hit shows (among them Desperate Housewives, Lost and Alias)-- for FREE. That's right, oh loyal readers. No longer must you spend money on iTunes or wait for summer repeats or the DVD release. You can go to ABC's website and watch all of last season, free of charge (you don't even have to REGISTER and subject yourself to endless spam from the network. Huh. That's actually a decent idea. They should hire me). The only "catch" is that each show has three, unavoidable, 30-second commercials, which when compared to the sometimes 5+ minutes of broadcast tv interstitials (believe it; I've actually timed it with my trusty Tivo), is a cake walk.

Pure genius.

It's a win-win for everyone. Networks get their ad revenue; Advertisers get their consumers; Consumers get to catch up on missed episodes of their favorite tv shows. And the BEST thing? It offers up another challenge for innovation that benefits us, the reinstated, all-powerful consumer: shorter, and better, tv commercials.

That is, until the next Tivo revoltion.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

So, today I did what we all, as citizens of the free world, get the opportunity to do: serve jury duty. Yes, I know-- something everyone complains about, and no one really likes to do... but I actually like it. I know... a little bit of the craziness talking. But, I find the entire process fascinating... and humbling... that we, ordinary citizens, get to play such an important role in a decision that could affect the entire course of a person's life.

I was summonsed to criminal court-- and of course, like everyone else, I prepared my list of responses that would potentially get me out of a lengthy jury trial-- my (ex) boyfriend is a (former) cop (is it perjury to leave out the "ex" and "former"?)... I have friends who are criminal defense attorneys (I'm pretty sure... I'm definitely almost positive)... I wouldn't be at all biased about testimony from cops (they would never lie b/c they're upstanding citizens who are protectors of the law... or, they're lying, cheating, god-complex egomaniacs)... that of course someone who's being prosecuted for first degree murder, who has a history of violence, assault with a firearm and previous convctions, is guilty.

I like to think of myself as fair. As someone who can be objective and listen to testimony and not judge a person who has allegedly shot and killed someone in cold blood, as well as an innocent caught in the crossfire.

I toss around this debate in my head all the time. The basic law of physics demands that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction." The bible says, "an eye for an eye..." and so on and so forth. Could I really be completely objective in this type of a trial?

Given my family history and trauma, I guess I could understand why I wouldn't be. When I was newly 16, my father and sister were involved in an accident... well, at least that's what we call it in polite company, I guess. They were victims of a random shooting. My sister, staring into the barrel of the gun, was injured when the first bullet exploded through the passenger window and scattered shards of glass into her face; the second shot lodged in my father's skull. He blindly drove to the gas station around the corner, fearing that the blood he saw in his daugher's face before he blacked out was a result of a bullet, and not realizing that he himself had been struck. My parents shielded me from the trial-- I wasn't allowed to attend as my sister, who was the only person who got a view of the shooter, and my father, testified. The alleged shooter was caught-- waving the weapon and bragging that he had used it to shoot someone that night. As though it was right of passage-- a path to cool. And maybe among the Los Angeles gang culture, it was.

I thought before that time that I didn't believe in capital punshiment. That everyone deserved a fair trial. That, even if they did the crime, they could be reformed through education, rehabilitation... yada, yada, yada... but then, when faced with the reality of a violent crime, I realized that, you know what? The bastard who shot my father and sister deserved, at the very least, to spend a very long time in jail. And, even more so? I thought that he didn't deserve to live. What if the next time he actually killed someone? What if he already had? If he could so callously take someone else's life, who's to say his is worth anything? Why would this failure of a human being deserve to walk among us? I didn't believe that he did.

In so many ways I was appalled with myself. How could I, the fair, understanding, good person, wish someone death? I guess, the truth is, you really don't know how you feel until you personally, physically, experience something like that. I think we're all prejudiced; some of us are very open (and ignorant) about it; while others of us try to bury and hide it. But the reality? Even before the incident involving the near-murder of my sister and father, there were likely prejudices mulling inside me, whether I felt them or not.

I did feel them today-- as I rode the bus into the depths of the southside of Chicago. Every African American with low-slung pants and cock-eyed baseball caps I assumed was a defendent, on his way to be prosecuted in criminal court; every juror selected, was from a specfic neighborhood (they asked where we lived), was a blue collar worker, who couldn't form complete sentences or use correct grammar; who had been convicted of a crime (public intoxication and disorderly conduct in three cases), been a victim of, or knew someone who was a victim of, a violent crime. I assumed they were chosen because of their easiness to be swayed-- be it by prosecution or defense. The teachers, professionals, college degrees and anyone who lived downtown or in a upscale suburb were shunned-- our own version of discrimination.

But I can't help but think of how I will respond when the judge asks me the questions... "will your experience with violent crimes sway your opinion of the defendent? will your friendships/acquaintances with police officers prejudice your evaluation of their testimonies? based on your experience, can you really give the defendent a fair trial?"

I'd like to think that I could. That I wouldn't be swayed by the fact that the defendent was smarmy-- a punk clearly playing dress up in his button shirt and tie; that his attorney wasn't sleezy, in every sense of the word. That the ADA's weren't younger than me (holy shit) and it very well may have been their first trial. But the reality? I just can't know, until I'm in that courtroom, presented with the evidence, hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defense... if I would be able to apply the concept of beyond a reasonable doubt-- to the defendent, and to myself.