~ January wrap-up folks, “It’s a lie”.
It may come as a surprise to you that I think of myself as a pretty positive person, almost ‘upbeat’, ‘happy’ mostly. Even my wife (who knows me pretty well) is surprised by this (concept, view, possibility). “I never knew”, she might say, “You hid it so well (all these years).”
The point is that I like “kickin’ the ideational shit out of the bad guys”. It ‘cleans up’ their act; reduces their power (to make messes). The world becomes a better place for it (maybe). “My” ‘second front’ is to struggle to keep more ‘bad guys and gals’ from coming down the pike; to keep them at home and then to do “home visits” to convince them of the “there’s NO point” in growing up ‘bad’ (point). It’s exhausting “work” at times, but rewarding mostly. The satisfaction is more than money (any money) can buy; “money motivated” people can’t understand this; don’t see the point, have blinders on, need cataract surgery (real or metaphor).
Well, (well, well, well) Homeland Security (DHS) BLINKED (big time). Yes, they are (trying) to close the borders today (and it will be a real, real MESS). But they “decided” to allow PHOTOCOPIES of birth certificates instead of requiring real birth certificates with real (three dimensional) notary seals or ‘stamps’ with real ink signatures (or both in all intelligent States). Now it doesn’t take a ‘brain surgeon’ (meaning a fish with a brain; or is that a ‘sturgeon’?), to forge a sealed and stamped birth certificate; a little time, effort, and money maybe – but no great ‘smarts’. But ONLY a “photocopy”, that is laughable. One might as well demand photocopies of twenty dollar bills as evidence that one has $1,000 “cash” on hand.
DHS might as well just stop the pretense of “border security” and start stringing barbed wire around (around what?, one might ask); around their necks, yes, maybe around their necks so they might remember how far they’ve stretched them out into a painful world that they are so totally “clueless” about. The really, really neat think about a government run by “friends”, “nepotism”, and good old fashioned “graft and corruption” is that all those in positions of power and ‘leadership’ are so “damn dumb” and so totally devoid of any worthwhile real life experience (cleverly masked by college degrees that often may be just ‘photocopies’). Nobody checks; do your ‘journalists’ check; of course NOT. They don’t get paid to; they wouldn’t know how (to).
I know a little something about “photocopies”. Originally they were just “copies” as in “copy”. World War II was run with just “copies”; retyped by a typist from the ‘original’. If the person who typed it actually compared the ‘copy’ to the original they might type “true copy” on the copy. Of course many copies weren’t ‘true’; but hey, even the “Greatest Generation” spaced out, had their lapses, made mistakes; could take a “what EVER” attitude. The whole use of the word “Jap” was probably because most secretaries (almost always male in the Army) could not type “Japanese” on a typewriter with any reasonable accuracy or speed. So it goes.
After Pearl Harbor (the communications disaster) the military began to realize that it would be better to occasionally require photographic copies of important documents; fewer mistakes and all. Hence the term “photo” copies. In no time they were all the rage (Kodak liked the idea very, very much). They even reduced real mail to “photo-mail” calling it “V-Mail”; people got a microfilm printout ‘stateside’ while the army burned the original letters and love letters in a fire very near to where they were written; or ‘buried’ them; giving ideas to the US Post Office Department for future ways of handling mail. (You figure out what I really mean).
After awhile machines were made to make a full size chemical fluid copy on weird paper by stuffing the original through a slot on the machine; presto, five minutes later (and another ten for drying) one had a blurry brown replica of the original. Everyone hailed the miracle of science. Then Xerox Corporation organized around the idea of “dry” (Xerox does mean ‘dry’). No wet chemicals, no drying time copies. For $5,000 (equivalent to $50,000 in today’s money) one could buy (but usually ‘leased’) a “Xerox machine” that could make “Xerox copies” that came to be known as just “Xeroxes” or “Xeroxs” which was back to nobody knowing how to spell things.
These copies were not as good as you now get from a $50 copier; but they sold for about $1 each (a dollar a copy) retail; Xerox made about 27 cents per copy as counted on the meter (each machine had a ‘total’ copies counter). Xerox made more money on “Xerox paper” and “xerox supplies” to keep the machine making copies. Such a deal. By 1963 “stenographic shops” (typing services) were offering “Xerox services” for ‘original’ type copies without the typing at about the typing rate (charged for typing). In case you are really, really confused the word “typing” means “keyboarding” which was at the time a term usually reserved for linotype operators that set hot metal type in lines for the use in cold metal printing presses (like big newspapers had); but I can tell that you are now really confused and are maybe beginning to understand why “Boomers” can’t understand about “Raspberries and Blackberries” as technology things.
In 1964 3M (Company; makers of scotch tape) came out with a two-step dry process using a chemically matched papers system (just add light). The ‘light’ machine was remarkably inexpensive (at $325). The cost of a copy was a little over a nickel. I quickly bought one (a photocopier) and had visions of replacing my (lucrative) paper route with an even more lucrative photocopy business. There wasn’t a “copying” industry in America in 1964, I was a pioneer, first on my block (and in the city, and in the State of Nevada). I rented an office, made signs, put up index card sized “flyers” (which was how bulletin boards were done in those days). A mining guy down the hall began bringing me all these old mining maps and documents (for copying). Business copied my client, “spot claims”; it wasn’t clear whether the business would “pan out”.
That’s about when I started getting creative with photocopies. I first tried a “fake ID”, to see if my driver’s license could age at “hyper-speed”; meaning I would look 21 even though I was still 15. ID’s didn’t have pictures then, just cardboard cards, no security paper even, no security, just numbers, a name and a lot of intuition and “trust”. I “played around” for a few hours; encountered a few problems, figured out solutions and finally decided that with enough plastic lamination (legal then, people did it all the time) I could have a “workable” ID; and my friends, and my friends, and friends I never knew I had. Why get only 25 cents a copy (which I did) when I could get $5 a copy (which I didn’t do). I liked solving problems, wasn’t money motivated. I liked the adventure of the possibilities, not the shady dark side of breaking things that were not yet broken.
I found a friend to “take over” (the business) while I went to Ecuador and the New York World’s Fair (earlier post, should write more though); one didn’t need a “fake ID” to drink in Ecuador, just money (not that I had more than a beer or two; OK, maybe three); being fifteen and sitting at a bar high in the Andes and wondering if a place like this would be the best place to be at world’s end; sitting with a beer, waiting for all the markets to crash, the bombs to fall, the missiles to fire, and the ‘whimper’ to start (and end). The equator and elevation and beer can do strange things to the mind of a 15 year old. There are good reasons for age laws regarding drinking (of alcohol).
With all the scanners and “paint shops” and photographic modification programs in every home (almost) it’s now easy to forge just about any document; except for the special papers, special embossing, and occasionally special inks and chemicals. New ID’s (and the new money) have this; birth certificates generally don’t; a “photocopy” of a birth certificate can’t. So each certificate (copy) has to be scanned and read and compared with a data-base in “somewhere” that has everything all organized and on-line and everything; cross-checked against death records of course. DHS is dreaming! The system does not exist. It’s a lie. The borders are as open (to bad gals and bad guys) as they ever were. There is no law saying one must have a social security number if one is “independently wealthy or independently poor”.
There are of course a few more ups and downs to the data-system theory of DHS. Each “problem solved” creates a new headache for honest citizens; like “do not fly lists”; they “do not work” except that they make a lot of people not want to fly which probably means the lists are working, “killing travel” like they are designed to do; like what closing the border is designed to do, “kill travel”. They (DHS) will play around, experiment, til 2009 (January 1); then see how far they’ve got and how far they need to go. There is no rush for (or at) the borders, nasty place, lines and guns, fences and badges and barbed wire; “Welcome to America”, watch your back, aren’t you glad you’re back?
It wasn’t like this once. Thought you should know. For the record. It was a free country (once); one could come and go freely, no ID usually, just a smile and a nod to Canada or to Mexico; Cuba even, ninety miles for a day or night of gambling, rococo skies, red breasted Mounties, racetracks in Caliente. It has nothing to do with 9-1-1 (or 9/11). America is not a “homeland”; it is a nation, “one ‘homeland’ under God”; gag, gag, gag (SUCH A LIE). The word is not in the Constitution, not in the Bill of Rights. Lincoln never used the term; nor did Kennedy. ‘Homeland’ is a Bushism. “Oil comes from ma ‘homeland’ near Crawford, Texas”. Now you know. End of discussion.
Anyway, I’m happy. There have always been “class acts” and “clown acts”. I never laughed at clowns; bad taste, not funny, just silly and stupid; I always liked the elephants a whole lot better, and of course the camels (a cleaner and more honest lot). There are “clown people” of course, they get their day and have their day; life moves on. At some point though all the mask and makeup has to come off, the show’s over, the tent is taken down, it’s just a “one more for the road” thing; always sad (as in ‘too bad’). It’s been an interesting month, January of ’08. Tiring, a chill in the air, ups and downs and ups that are still really down. It’s been a ‘clown act’ I think, a warm up, not really friendly or nice; but enough to keep you in your seat, enough to make you pay attention, knowing that the real and bigger acts still lie ahead. And that’s not a lie.
[2008.01.31 / Thursday – It’s A Lie]