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As I drive around town, both on the regular roads and the freeways, I see things that give me reason to ask the question, “Are we being spied upon?” There seems to be an abundance of cameras on traffic lights. These cameras are on almost every intersection but not in areas where there is any backup of traffic or a legitimate reason to have them at that location. It looks to me as if the cities, states, or counties just as a matter of fact buy cameras every time they order a traffic light. And also they went to great length to modify the old signals with cameras. I might think the agencies are spending too much of our money doing this everywhere.
— Robert W. Rafferty, via email

If you don’t know by now we’re being spied on 24/7, everywhere, by multiple means, then you’re living under a rock and probably don’t have to worry about spies. I refer you to the absolute best “Who’s Trying to Get Me and How Can I Stop It?” organization; I recommend you (and all other A’landers) sign up for their email updates and archives for totally practical info about junk mail and med records and identity theft and every other privacy issue: the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (privacyrights.org), directed by the eagle-eyed Beth Givens. And it’s a San Diego–based outfit. Many of the “cameras” on traffic lights are actually sensors used by emergency vehicles to automatically change intersection lights from red to green in their favor as they speed to a calamity. Freeway “cameras” are mostly car counters to get a picture of traffic patterns at various times of day. Most “cameras” are benign, unless you’re a bad guy and your assault on a bartender is caught by the joint’s video system. Anyway, get used to it. It’s not going away, and your online risks are actually much, much greater. Go now to privacyrights.org. Though, if you really are being spied on, maybe it’s by this guy, whose dad flies JetBlue to see the koi while hugging Afghanis and chasing down an old, fake CIA computer. Typical M.A. reader....

Ni hao Mateo!
How much was China willing to pay for access to MK Ultra’s quantum computers? You should have told them that it was a Trojan horse, I think the Koi are going to get angry. Have minister ni hao call Steven S. the general manager @ (619) XXX-XXXX to reach the DNC regarding MK 9/11. While you are at it, you can snuggle for 16 minutes together under an Afghan. My father JET all the way, but he is blue and it mk’s him crazy. — James

“So, Matt, who are you really?” “Whooooo are you? Who who? Who who? I really gotta know.”

In the 30, 40 years I’ve been pushing this particular rock up this particular mountain, it’s a theme that has never gone away. I’ve dutifully ignored it or fired off some wiseguy answer. Worse than Mitt and his income taxes, but just as predictable. But after 40, 50 years of stonewalling the question, the day has finally come when I’m forced to pull back the curtain on my 50, 60 years of calumny and prevarication.

It’s been the week from hell here at the Matthew Alice Centre for Industrial Espionage and Applied Bondo Research. For months we’ve been stalked by hipsters from Bravo! trying to meet with Grandma. They leave fruit baskets and stylish knitwear on the porch with notes begging her to call them on their personal cells. Gift boxes from Urban Outfitters. Roses. Lots of roses. It seems they’re putting together a new reality show, and they figure Grandma would fit right in. “The Real Housewives of the Internet: People You Don’t Know but Wouldn’t Want to Hang Out with Even If You Did.” They promise her a pie-free future, with someone else to do the laundry. She’s crumbling — I can see it. She just bought a $500 pair of sunglasses and bags of new makeup.

Well, I figured we could carry on without her. Until yesterday. Knock at the door. I drew the short straw, so I had to answer it. My stomach sank into my shoes. Before me was a figure I thought I’d lost in the dust years ago. My nemesis. Grrrrr. The REAL Matthew Alice. My palace coup 60, 70 years ago had been so thorough and so successful, I assumed the REAL MA would never return, that I’d forever rule this corner of the wisdom kingdom, sliding quietly into the REAL MA’s leotard, T-shirt, cape, and Groucho Marx nose and glasses with nobody the wiser. Well, it was a good run, but my identity theft has caught up with me. The REAL MA is back, steely resolve in those all-knowing eyes. So, that’s it, kids. I’ll vacate the chair so the REAL MA can take control again. It was fun while it lasted. Don’t TP my house for the deception. Admit it. You kinda liked it, too. (Anybody need a cavalcade of unemployed elves?)
Linda Nevin

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Javajoe25 Aug. 29, 2012 @ 10:25 p.m.

Linda Nevin? No way! Linda Nevin is/was/has been Matthew Alice? Wow. Well, Linda, I must tell you--you write just like a real Matthew. Fooled me the whole time. Totally. Wow. Linda Nevin. And now the real Matthew Alice is back? Yea, right, right, right? Whoever you be; whoever you were, I've enjoyed every word.


Matthew_Alice Aug. 30, 2012 @ 1:54 p.m.

Thanks for kind words. @Joe: Yes, the REAL M.A. Really. Have I ever lied to -- um, well, it's the REAL M.A. You'll see. Take my word for it. (Tried posting this a while ago. It seemed to go uo okay, then disappeared. See?? It's that damn REAL M.A. Revenge sabotaging me. Grrrrrrr.)


David Dodd Aug. 31, 2012 @ 7:05 p.m.

Why not? Men have been writing Romance novels under women's names for decades, it's about time someone got some good revenge on those fools. I mean, REAL WOMEN know that clothes don't instantly disappear from human flesh based on some sort of sordid and inexplicable desire, only men dream that crap up. Or do they?



Matthew_Alice Sept. 1, 2012 @ 11:33 a.m.

Pretty true, Refried. (Thanks for the faithful readership and commentary.) I've never, ever had the desire to make my clothng disappear simply by looking into the eyes (and hair) of Fabio. A man's fantasy for sure.


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