Have you noticed every time you search for a product on-line, the item you’re searching for begins showing up in the ads in your email account, and every other site you frequent? Hard to overlook. If not the exact item, other items “you might like” show up expanding your search parameters to like merchandise. What annoys me about this is if you happen to be looking for a gift for a member of your family sharing the same computer, they too are privy to the pictures spoiling the surprise. Truly we are being tracked for everything from our taste in clothing, our viewing preferences, what coffee we enjoy in our cups in the morning, and who we follow on Twitter. Our TV forwards intel to our service provider on our viewing choices, our frequency of viewing, and our pay channel electives.
Grocery store or pharmacy receipts, besides providing us with proof of purchase for our items send information to the store’s computer tracking whether or not we prefer Florida’s Own to Minute Maid, if we buy 2-ply Charmin or 1-ply Quilted Northern. These preferences in turn are reflected in the coupons we receive when rewards are issued. Little escapes the voracious appetites of information gathering software. Should we purchase a house, our information is farmed out to insurance companies, moving companies, and any other company benefiting by somebody making such a move. Reached 65? If so, mail will begin to come in offering you inexpensive disposal options, cremation perhaps or The Neptune Society. Life insurance companies names will appear on envelopes in your mailbox with insurance available with no medical questions asked for those over 60.
Back in the day information was gathered at a much slower pace. The IRS, the DMV, your medical facilities, all had your basic data but it was gathered more slowly, kept on cards or in banks of file folders. Today it is at your fingertips. Want to know where that old boyfriend is? Google him. If he’s out there for a small charge you can find out what he’s up to these days and who he is up to it with most probably. Truly it is an information highway, and we are all blips on the screen.
I prefer a little more anonymity. Not that I’m planning on knocking off a bank, or have anything to hide. So much transparency makes me squirm a bit like a specimen on a lab slide. An oversized eye observing everything I do. Somehow to me it feels as if someone had broken into my house and rifled around in my lingerie drawer. I suppose I will have to get used to it. Certainly it’s not going away anytime soon.
Misinformation gets gathered along with viable data. Another person’s information could well turn up on your side of the stack. A ways back I received a call from a bill collector. The man began the conversation by telling me I owed money on a car loan. The car had been repossessed, sold, and money was left owing on it. The original loan holder then sold the loan to this man’s company for collection. I explained that this must be another woman with the same name. Certainly my name is not unique by any standards. I went on to say I couldn’t have acquired the loan at the time he mentioned because I lived out of state during that period of time and had never owned the vehicle in question. Accelerating his threatening tone, he demanded payment insinuating everything from sending a large gentlemen named Guido to my door with a baseball bat to attaching a lien on my property including the loaf of bread in my bread box to my house to exact his pound of flesh. “What part of this information are you not receiving, I asked again?” This time he got seriously ugly. I put Rick on the phone, or as we refer to him, the enforcer. The gentlemen, and I use this term in its loosest translation, never called again.
Scammers are on the make with all this valuable loose information flying around. People tracking these information stealers get one scam cleaned up and another pops up on the radar. Zooming in the scammers break down the firewalls of large corporations slurping up our information like hungry tigers atop an unfortunate water buffalo. Several of the larger stores I frequent have issued notices recently advising me their systems have been breached and information pirated. Yesterday I got a notice someone had tried to dip into my bank account information. Changing passwords regularly and using unusual combinations diminishes the risk, but they’re getting smarter every day.
I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t think there is one. When I lived in West Virginia a lot of people there escaped notice by living in the isolated hollows prolific in “the mountain state”. These shadow people do not fie income taxes, work only for cash, and do not register for anything requiring giving up personal information on themselves thus keeping their secrets their own one generation after the next. An accurate census could not be gathered in the state because these “holler dwellers” exist well below the radar their comings and goings held close to their chests.
Bill Gates was expressing his concerns recently on what our world will look like in 20 years Many jobs will be taken over by software leaving a glut of human workers with not enough jobs to fill. HAL is lurking out there in the not so distant future, not simply captured on film but at a workplace near you. Perhaps all this will pass unnoticed as the rest of us are busy taking selfies.
Albondigas is a soup that is a meal in itself. Serve with rice on the side and let your guests add it to the bowl as they go. Absolutely delicious but if spice is not your thing, this soup is not for you.
Albondigas (Meatball Soup)
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
3/4 lb. ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine ground meats with remaining ingredients mixing by hand until smooth. Refrigerate covered for 1 hr. Roll into balls (about 26).
Cover baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place in oven for 20-25 mins. turning once. Drain on paper towels and refrigerate until read to add to soup.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/2″
2 large carrots, sliced 1/2″
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 10 oz. can Rotel Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
In stock pot heat oil over medium heat until glistening. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook for 8 mins. until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 min. Add all remaining ingredients.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 mins. stirring regularly. Add meatballs and continue cooking for 10 mins. uncovered. Remove from heat.
Heat flour tortillas in microwave for 1 min. placing damp paper towel between each tortilla.