Friday, July 12, 2013

Spread the joy, Eden Coffee

Today I purchased my weekly addiction from Eden Coffee, on Mt Eden Road. I also picked up some wicked drinking chocolate (well it must be because it's called Evil Child!)  I always enjoy going to pick up my coffee beans, not because I know they are damned good, but because the welcome is so genuine. The guy remembers me and even seems to know what I brought last time. He offers advice and encourages me to try something else in the range. It seems that I have settled for a medium strength version. I don't know why, but my tastes have changed since my operation; not just with coffee, but also food.
Today was special. I was feeling good anyway because it is the start of the holidays for me and the sun was shining. I had taken Perdy for a walk on the 'Big King Reserve,' so Perdy was happy too.
While I was contemplating my choice I entered into my normal chat with the 'host' (because that's what it feels like) and another customer. The atmosphere was most convivial.
A new customer came in for his 'morning shot' and when he went to pay for it, our host said, 'It's on the house.' Another customer had 'forward paid' for the coffee. It's a sort of 'what goes around, comes around' thing, only with coffee, whereby if you want, you can pay for someone who you don't know to have a freebie.
The customer's face dropped, as if he didn't believe it and when our host explained the 'tradition' his face at first looked incredulous and then happy. The smile said it all.
When I paid my bill for the coffee beans, the incredible drinking chocolate (Our hosts explained a few versions of how to get the best out of it) I decided to 'forward pay' for the next person who came in with a 'big smile.' Our host and I decided to call it the 'forward smile' coffee. I can't wait to hear next time I go in (that will be during the week, now that I am on holiday), who received my gift.
I left with a huge smile on my face.

When is it OK for our Governments to spy on us?

Le's take the emotion out of the debate about governments spying on their people. Yes, that's a tall order and one cannot help but 'titsy' when thinking about the prospect, especially if you are generally following the laws of your country and don't belong to an extreme group, promulgating the violent overthrow of your government. Hey, if we don't like our government, at least we can biff them out for the next 'same as ,same as version at the three yearly election cycle in New Zealand. I guess the same can be said for most so-called 'democracies.'
What we don't want is the Arab Spring' solution or the Syrian mess. Having said the above, then even in our country, there is a need for the 'State' to be looking over our shoulders and seeking out those who would endanger the fabric of our society and to go about everyday life in a safe manner.
 BUT----where do we draw the line? The scatter-gun approach of vast computer systems sifting through every email and cell phone conversation represents either our imaginations going 'psyhco' or an actual impossibility----- I don't know what the capacity of our government is to achieve anything like what I have intimated. Perhaps the government agencies of the bigger powers can achieve that, but unless there is a link (and that has been strongly suggested) between our GSCB and the CIA and other agencies world wide, then are we overacting?
I simply don't know and the large majority of NZers and citizens of most countries don't give a thought to what 'could' be happening.
Why is it then that I have this uncomfortable feeling that we are being watched? Does that spring from me reading too many blogs and Facebook snippets from people who 'possibly' know what is actually going on? I DON'T BLOODY KNOW!
I want to live in a peaceful society, protected from criminals, drug dealers, purveyors of hate, terrorists and nasty racists groups. If that takes some sort of 'surveillance,' then maybe, just maybe, I can live with that. My question and discomfort comes from---'who decides who is to be spied on and how are they going to achieve this? Who is going the watch the 'watchers?' There are numerous questions and fears that need to be allayed. Who can we trust to answer these issues?
Maybe it is us, the huge number of people on the 'web' who can keep expressing our thoughts---but these thoughts must be transferred into action.
If we have leaders who cynically dismiss our opinions, then that is where the danger is amplified. If we take a way the more ridiculous claims that some of us may be making, then we are left with real unanswered questions. That is why we need the 'whistle blowers' and unless they actually endanger their countries (the definition of that is questionable to say then least) then they are providing us with a service. That does not necessarily make them 'traitors' as the USA Government would claim about Snowden and company.
I know my arguments have rambled through the difficult minefield that 'to spy or not to spy,' represents, but once again, I call for balance. Let's keep the discussion, ranging from the cynical to the downright funny, then, yes talk, chat, discuss, enlighten and take the piss.' All is good in my opinion and as that 'dude' on RT says, 'And that's just my opinion.'