(Speaking of tangents, ‘but’ is such a wonderfully, dramatically, ominous word, don’t you think? That starkly simple three-letter word, especially when followed by the mutely elegant ellipsis (otherwise known to the ignorant and vulgar as the ‘dot-dot-dot’) which didn’t originally mean an expressive silence, a trailing off implying more to come, but which now does…)
Sorry. What I was going to say before rhapsodizing about a single word was: …but the Muse had other ideas. And I didn’t dare offend her. Because, to paraphrase an old saying, when the Muse ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. When she shows up and you say you’d like to write about such and such today, and she gets that polite but long-suffering look on her face… it means, ‘if you know what’s good for you, you won’t even try, because this is what I’ve got for you instead and you damned well better use it, buster’ --- well, you just go with whatever she says. So that post on Dune’s characters will have to wait for another week. As long as the Muse doesn’t drop by and have a different idea when next I sit down at my trusty Dell Inspiron to (metaphorically) pen another epistle.
(Which leads me on another --- slightly longer --- tangent about the supreme need/value to stay flexible when writing --- regardless of whether we’re talking about blog posts or sonnets or the latest addition to one’s magnum opus work-in-progress. If the topic you decided to write on today just isn’t working out for you, then go with what is. A different episode in the plot. Some character background. Descriptive writing about setting. Whatever. As long as what’s working for you is not staring mindlessly at cat videos on social media for seven hours. I don’t imagine the Muse would be very impressed with that, either, and never mind the moon being a harsh mistress; the moon’s got nothing on the Muse when she’s crossed.)
Anyway. Let me start (!) by saying it’s all Microsoft’s fault, to wit:
I guess the underlying message is, in this day and age, if you value privacy, whether digital or analog or both, you’ve got to be aggressive in protecting yours. (I already knew that, but yesterday was a good reminder.) Because, in a society where information is the new gold mine for corporations, they’re not interested in safeguarding your privacy. Quite the contrary, in fact. I used the word ‘pillage’ a minute ago, and I think it’s an apt descriptor of what companies want to do with your information. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon --- all the Buy ‘N Large type companies, in fact (today’s Wall-E reference) --- are, almost literally, barbarian hordes battering your digital gates. And you need to be the forces of civilization determined to fend them off. It’s not just companies, either. An article on my newsfeed today discussed a lawyer whose laptop and phone were seized by border agents after he refused to provide the passwords… when the agents couldn’t express reasonable grounds why they wanted a peek in the first place.
So guard your privacy, peeps. Don’t allow it to slip away through apathy, neglect or convenience.
And by the way… tell Alexa, Siri, and Cortana to mind their own damned business, too.
(‘By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!’)