"Travel to stop smoking and more commentaries." Personal Page by melosh
I was never a smoker so I can not claim that I have personal experience that the following suggestion works. Nor can I claim any scientific evidence, but I came up with an approach involving travel that I have promoted to lots of patients and many seemed to appreciate the idea. Whether they used it or not, I do not know.
It starts with the idea that for whatever reason smokers like to smoke. One way or another it gives them pleasure. It is a habit that gets at least intermittent reinforcement. Obviously for those who have continued to smoke in this day and age the scare approach is not enough. The high cost alone is also not enough reason in itself to drive quitting.
So, what I suggest is that a smoker decide to replace smoking with a greater pleasure. I steer them away from material possessions toward doing something that they have dreamed about --Maybe something they thought of doing before marriage, children or work got in the way.-- or could dream about but have never had the money or the chance to do. It should be personal, but preferably exotic, extreme and different. I often suggest it should be something that will amaze their friends, so they say,"I can not believe he/she did that."
The idea is to replace the pleasure of smoking with a greater potential pleasure. You get the travel brochures, research the trip and commit to depositing the monthly money you save by not smoking in an account that can absolutely only be used for this dream adventure. Whenever you get the urge to smoke you ask yourself if the pleasure of one cigarette or cigar is worth giving up your dream. At home or at work (or both) you put the brochures or plans in a large jar and if you get the urge to smoke you add the cost of a pack of cigarettes to the jar, remove the documents and go for a walk or take a break taking pleasure in your plans. You will be amazed at how quickly you can make your impossible dream possible by just quitting tobacco.
If you violate the no smoking ban, all the money must go to a person or a cause you would hate to support. Perhaps your mother-in-law or an anti-abortion or pro-abortion organization. (If you really hate children you could donate it to my wife's not for profit organization, "The Children's Reading Center".)
After reading a post recommending objectivity on VT to avoid law suits, I was ready to send the message, "Only in America". Then I checked the writer's home page and wrote:
Don't tell me Australia is becoming more like the USA where anyone or any business can try to use the court system to punish, harass, intimidate and possibly extort financial gain.
Most restaurant owners are smarter than the one you talked to. Unlike complaints about sexiness in movies, my guess is that complaints about food, price, atmosphere, cleanliness or service do not lead to greater business. A businessman who highlights complaints through the courts and newspapers is probably going to lose more than he could possibly gain.
A good part of VT is the subjective. VT writer needs to be accurate and honest, but being objective and balanced are not required.
"The food was awful, the service slow, the atmosphere that of a busy train station and the prices outlandish. And, I think the owner was drunk. I would never go back." Does not need any balancing objective clarification like, "Maybe it was just me, because there were lots of people there. And perhaps I was being impatient because I had tickets for the opera. I am really a cheap person and I could not check the blood alcohol level of the owner and perhaps his slurred speech and clumsiness was due to a birth defect,a diabetic crisis altitude sickness or a stroke."
In America, it does not much matter what you say unless you only say nice things. You can be sued! Whether or not the suit "has legs" depends on whether or not the suing party has the money to pay a lawyer*, can prove that what you said was not true or at least intentionally falsified, you had a motive to make false statements, and have a lot of money to pay a settlement.
I appreciate strong subjective statements on VT. But, of course, objective factual details are often what makes the opinions expressed intelligible. The more detailed facts, the better. No one can object to objectivity, but for me that is not enough: I want to read opinions.
* In America, if person or business is very rich and the suit has great potential for success the suing party may be able to find a lawyer to work on contingency.
For a person or business that feels they were defamed, the threat or initiation of a lawsuit for slander or libel is a counter-attack that in essence is a legal and public way of saying that the person who initiated the defamation is a liar. To actually win such a case in court the plaintive has to prove the facts support the claim and to win a reward, they must prove the harm.
Even though I think few of these cases ever reach a court decision, the process can be expensive. For the complaining party this may be covered as a cost of doing business, they may even have a legal team on retainer for just such situations. They also might justify it by imagining a big reward if they should win. But for the person being sued, the threat begins with the first letter from a lawyer. The defending party almost certainly must hire a lawyer of their own. Every legal thrust by the plaintive will cost the defendant lawyer fees and time. All this time the defendant may see a claim for damages beyond any thing they could pay. (In Florida, at least, one of the early moves can be the plaintive lawyers demand as an "officer of the court for accounting of all you assets and insurance.) This whole process could go on for a long time.
No wonder so many of these cases just get settled. In the USA, for an individual writing on the internet the legal system does not provide a level playing field. You can lose even if you win. So even when the writer initially declares that he/she will fight for the right to express their opinions, they usually will wear down and settle.
The danger is that the threat can inhibit the expression of honest negative opinions.
The best defense is not objectivity, but honesty and fact based clarity. For example, to say that "a restaurant's food was awful and that you suffered from food poisoning" can be true and defended (especially if you have hospital record), but to say that "the restaurant tried to poison you" would be unlikely and is more likely to lead to a lawsuit.
Being opinionated is OK, being outrageous in your claims is not.
There are four types of aid: 1) Governmental and international financial (loans, grants and debt relief) including the big effort "big bucks" projects, 2) Emergency relief for natural disasters, 3) Large international NGO programs, and 4) small NGO and mission work.
Frankly, in my opinion none of these are very efficient in producing real and significant benefits on the ground. If you believe #1 helps people, you should read "Dead Aid" by the Zambian writer Dambia Moyo who argues that this aid has been historically a failure because it fosters corruption and prevents growth. Few would deny the potential benefit of #2 (emergency relief), but my limited experience does suggest that world emergency efforts are far from efficient. Large NGOs face several challenges. One is organizational operating costs, another is expenses in maintaining and using foreign experts and the third may be danger of mis-directed aid focused on external priorities. Lastly are the generally well motivated individuals and small organizations who find personal or religious missions worth their effort. Often these project stumble from ignorance or lack of resources (including time), but it is hard to see this as harmful. Many of the participants recognize that they gain more than the people they want to help. This is fine.
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