ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT YOUR GOOGLE SEARCHES? I AM, KINDA

Are you paranoid?  Do you ever wonder if someone is watching your every move?  Worry about someone looking at your Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other web searches?  Yeah, me too.

BIG BROTHER?
ORWELL WOULD SHUDDER

We have had an amazing spring break.  Some family came up and visited with us and we ate a lot of food and watched movies and played outdoors and had a lot of fun.  This morning, though, I’ve been working on a short story that I think has a lot of juice.  I think I am going to submit it with a collection from bardandbook.com that is forthcoming.

There was a bit of research I had to do as I was writing it that made me giggle and worry at the same time.  My regular readers will know how critical I have been of the NSA and their spying on American citizens.  I began to worry about what the NSA might think of the Google queries I often make.  I mean, as a writer, the only way to make something feel real for the reader is if it has that scientific or historical feeling of being based in reality.  The internet is a vast treasure trove of information that helps me understand some basic aspects of how complicated or violent things work.

But what if the NSA, the FBI, or heaven forbid someone from my church small group were looking at my Google queries?

Can you kill someone with rat poison?

Is strychnine legal to purchase?

Where can I buy strychnine?

What are the top poisons for killing human beings?

By the way, one of the things I learned is that only about 2% or all homicides in the United States are poison related.  We Americans prefer handguns because they are so much easier to get.

When I was researching my novel, the upcoming The Little Girl Waits my Google work was, in my opinion, creepier.

What are the laws for punishing prostitution?

What is a john?

Would a fall from a five story building kill someone?

How does someone abduct a child?

How long does it take for someone to bleed to death from a stab wound?

Did you know that it is almost always the prostitute, often a minor, who gets arrested in the United States and very rarely is it the john, the man doing the soliciting.  If it is illegal to have sex with a minor (and it is!), then how can a girl, being the victim, be arrested for prostitution?  Something is broken in our system.

Anyway, My Deep Cove series is a little bit more rooted in my own imagination, but when writing it I still had to make some interesting queries.

Where can I get information on Nazi human science experiments?

Is it murder to watch someone die without helping?

What does human blood look like in water?

When did girls start wearing tube tops?

How would whale sperm be stored?

Turns out, tube tops were popular in the 1970’s.  Other odd searches for other stories have included things that would make anyone wonder about me.

Best place to shoot yourself

Rape laws in the 1970’s

Can a rug stop a bullet?

Thankfully I am not writing about terrorists, blowing up planes, or jihad.  Yet.

I surely hope no one is searching my Google searches, but if they are, please understand.  I am a writer.

 

Google/NSA image from motherjones.com 

FREE SPEECH IS SHIRTLESS

There is a lot of work today for me, plus it is election day and there are some constitutional amendments I need to weigh in on, but I am never too busy to complain about the continuing erosion of personal liberty.

It has come to my attention this morning a small business operator named Dan McCall has been ordered to stop selling a parody t-shirt because it offends the NSA–the National Security Administration–you know, the ones who are keeping tabs on all your metadata?  Yeah, them.

This is the t-shirt in question:

pic from dailymail.co.uk
pic from dailymail.co.uk

In case you can’t read it–it has the NSA logo with the fake motto, “Peeping while your sleeping” and then below that it has a cute little satire that says, “The NSA–The only part of government that actually listens.”

He was selling this t-shirt all over the place, including Zazzle.  Zazzle is one of the online retailers I know about because I bought a coffee cup with a cockroach picture on it for a loved one last year from Zazzle.  But I digress.

The rationale behind their scary Orwellian “Cease and Desist” order is that it is copyright infringement.  Really?  The NSA is copyrighted?  Does the NSA seek to make money off it’s logo?  Besides, this is a parody.  Go to any shopping mall and you will find parody t-shirts in half the shops.  Go to any church youth group and you will see religiously parodied t-shirts that take a secular logo and put a spiritual or biblical twist to it.

It happens everyday and most of us chuckle and move on.  But not the NSA.  Not our government.

I am not saying it is good taste to print that t-shirt and I’m not saying I would buy one.  However, this is an epic government overreach.  What is next, will the NSA go after The Onion.  Actually, that would be a great Onion story about how the NSA is trying to shut them down.  In fact when I first saw this I thought it was a rogue Onion story some took for being real, but then I checked it with real news sources like NBC.  I wish it were satire, but this is Jon Stewart.  This is our government.

For what it is worth, I am sure my tax bill will go up now after they read this blog.  If there are no further postings found, or my blog suddenly goes dark, you will understand what happened.