The Cure for Depression

Possibly as a result of listening to this song on repeat and looking out my office window to the scene above – I’ve been battling major depression for the past couple of weeks. Two things I did recently to improve my mood:

1. Climbed Mount Kearsarge on Saturday. Only two hours from my home and a decent 3 mile hike with great views of the surrounding mountains.

Our dog recently weighed in at a hefty 100 pounds so the diet and exercise program began on that day. He is a good hiking companion.

2. The other thing I did was earlier tonight I sang the song below while dancing with my girls. Man, this song is sure-fire depression cure. I can play it on the drums if someone can play along on the keyboard and sing. Shoot me an email.

Trial By Media – Woody Allen Edition

Almost 20 years ago at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta a security guard named Richard Jewell found a backpack filled with pipe bombs. He immediately alerted the police and helped evacuate the area before the bombs exploded. He saved many lives. He was hailed as a hero by the media and then just as quickly deemed a suspect.

I remember when this happened, listening the radio DJs calling him “Dick Jewel” – the bumbling loser who planted the bomb so he could “discover” it and be crowned a hero. What a jerk. We all shook our heads and laughed at the sad pathetic loser, ashamed we had once thought highly of him. Jay Leno called him the “Una-doofus.”

Trial by media was on. NBC Reporter and occasional District Attorney Tom Brokaw pronounced Richard Jewel guilty of all charges – “The speculation is that the FBI is close to making the case. They probably have enough to arrest him right now, probably enough to prosecute him, but you always want to have enough to convict him as well. There are still some holes in this case.”

Three months later, the FBI wrote him a formal letter clearing him of all charges. Richard Jewell was a hero again. How embarrassing for the media.

What a contrast to real trials. Recently I served jury duty on a rape case. During the proceedings the judge instructed us to not make any judgments until all the facts were presented. That’s easy to say but difficult to do. I have two daughters and when I heard the word “rape”, I winced, looked at the defendant and thought, “You dirtbag.”

For three quarters of the trial as the evidence was presented, I thought “Guilty, guilty, guilty. Our work is done here.” This all changed when the defendant took the stand. I had the realization “Oh my God, I think he’s innocent.” I get a chill when I remember that moment. This man was facing significant jail time and his story was the only one that made sense.

When we began deliberations, the majority agreed with me with only a few holdouts. The phrase “reasonable doubt” stuck in my head. The question is what is worse – sending a guilty man free or an innocent man to jail? I couldn’t live with myself if I sent an innocent man to jail. We rendered an innocent verdict. There wasn’t enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Real trials are everything Trial by Media is not. Jurors are not allowed to talk to others about the case. They are not allowed to do outside research. They can only render a verdict based on the methodical presentation of evidence. The best way to describe the experience is it’s totally fascinating when it’s not totally boring.

Trial by Media is the opposite. Suddenly everyone with a megaphone is an expert. Speculation and rumor is reported as irrefutably true and how can you be so stupid to disagree? Here are the facts! And now a word from our sponsors.

I think about this when I see the latest furor about Woody Allen. According to this article, the New York Times may publish Woody Allen’s response to molestation accusations. Never mind that Woody Allen was already cleared of all charges after a six month investigation by the Connecticut State Police, who brought in an investigative team from the Yale-New Haven Hospital. Nowadays a single tweeted accusation is enough to spring the Internet Judgment Machine into action. On Facebook I’ve read the comments “Molesters usually lie” and “Molesters always have a good story that shows they are innocent.” One commenter renders their verdict in one word, “Barf.”

I’m reminded of a story about Lyndon Johnson. During one of his campaigns he ordered a rumor be spread that his opponent fucked pigs. One of his aides said, “You know he doesn’t do that!” Johnson replied, “I know. I just want to hear him deny it.”

How unfortunate Johnson didn’t live in the age of Twitter. Now you can level heinous charges on someone with a single well-timed tweet. How obnoxious. Stop the madness – render a verdict only after the careful presentation of evidence. How many Richard Jewells does there have to be?

Notes to Self – 2013 Edition

A long time ago I made a habit of keeping a notebook for jotting down notes to myself. I suppose people now use Twitter to do this which is a great way to get fired or trigger an hailstorm of outrage.

Me, I write down notes to myself and then screen them for the best before unleashing them for public consumption. Here are some of them from 2013:

– I’m working on a website called “The Thesaurusizer” that transforms sentences like “The man walked into the park” into “The male strutted within the verdant wilderness resplendent in foliage.”

– “So your government, it is shutdown now?” – question I fielded from a Russian today

– I’m writing an article called “Top 10 Reasons all these Top 10 Reasons articles are so stupid and annoying”

– Snoop Dogg’s transformation from dangerous thug to mainstream marketing product now complete

– Stopped into a popular diner – three people were looking at their phones and not a single newspaper was being read

– Career advice – if you go to a department lunch, don’t spend half of your time there playing a video game on your phone

– “Folks constantly break down and start crying on the desk” – not something you want to read in a company review (side note – this not my employer)

– If you ever find yourself saying, “I don’t remember New Jersey being so mountainous” – you missed the exit a long, long time ago

– Activist and civil rights hero Edward Snowden has found everlasting freedom from government oppression in Russia.

– “Mellow man. We got ourselves a nice, mellow war today.” (one of my favorite quotes from “The Things They Carried“)

– Thing I learned today – Concord, NH, unofficial tagline is “City in a coma”

– Flipping through LinkedIn photos I’ve decided it must be illegal to smile in photos if you are Russian

– Just when I think I’ve found the dumbest thing possible, I find this

– Aaron Hernandez – how much would we had to pay him to not kill someone? I don’t kill anyone for free

– “You must have swam in college” – best compliment I’ve received this year

– Two hard-boiled egges, two bagels, a cup of coffee and I’m still hungry

– Either someone in the office brought in Burger King or someone opened a dumpster filled with hot trash

– Got up, showered and got ready for work, dressed daughters for school, made beds, fed girls breakfast, emptied dishwasher, took out trash. First thing my wife says to me when she gets in? “This kitchen floor is a mess”

– Of the many things I could be doing, I made the choice to watch a movie called “Sharktopus”

– I don’t mean to brag but when it comes to food, I don’t have high standards

– Sonic Youth – the band that everyone knows and no one really likes

– A word I never knew existed until today – ratfucking

– Last week I talked to a guy who worked in the credit card industry for 20 years and has never owned one

– Promising Tebow he would play some quarterback, some receiver, some running back and sometimes blocking means the Jets never had a coherent plan

– If you were unaware of Scottish love of American football and skill at saxophones and rapping, you’re in for a treat in this video

– Once a guy was helping me move and saw me getting rid of a bunch of hypodermic needles. He asked, “Does your daughter have diabetes?” I told him, “No, my fucking cat.”

– Of all the tough last names, “Stank” is right up there

– Next thing you know you’re reading all about Valerie Bertenelli on Wikipedia

– You have to respect a guy who can pull off the name Nimrod

– Whenever I meet someone who hates I remember “The weak always hate the strong”

– Among band names “Shithaus” reigns supreme

– “Want to put my tender heart in a blender” – the best line they could come up with

– Hearing multimillionaires say “The poor are used to living like that” reminds me why I never vote Republican

– Wouldn’t it be cool if you could block people in real-life like you do on Facebook? “I’m sorry, I have blocked you”

– Your hydration needs are not so pressing that you need to carry a coffee the size of football

– On the list of things that don’t interest me at all your food allergy is at the top

– Tom Brady sleeps in a multimillion dollar home next to his supermodel wife. His job is to play a game watched by millions worldwide. Teams of analysts watch his every move on the field. He plays in front of 100,000 screaming fans. He makes millions but his job is on the line with every pass. So, I ask you – do you think he gives a shit what you think about his hair?