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Thursday, May 28, 2015

"But I Make Excellent Rembrandts."

Title could be: “We See What We Want to See”

Two days after I ranted on my writer’s blog*about how much data was on the Internet, and that books were dying faster than bugs on a sheep’s back after a good dipping—no  I didn’t use that analogy, just thought of it. Have you ever seen sheep swimming though a trough of sheep dip? Anyway I wondered why the government, the banks, anyone with personal critical data trusted it to the Internet. And then yesterday I heard on the radio that the IRS had been hacked.


It appears that the hackers gathered personal information, but haven’t yet used it. “Authorities” figure they are waiting until next year to intercept any refunds entitled to certain taxpayers. And to add insult to injury, the burden of monitoring falls on the one who was hacked. These poor people need to keep checking to make sure their data is clean.

And then this morning I checked in on #Craig’s list, as I had placed an ad there, and they informed me that their site had been “compromised.” They assured me, however, that it had been fixed.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

We might as well laugh at it I suppose—I wouldn’t laugh, though, if my refund went to someone else. And I’m mad as hell that people aren’t buying books, but are reading on the Internet or Digital devices, or not reading.

Fahrenheit 451?

There was a funny post on #Craigs’s list—see we do love the Internet, just don’t trust it to keep our culture alive. (Book were once burned—remember? How easy would it be for a Hacker, or an on purpose “Authority” to erase us, our culture, our literature, our personal data. Think about old scrolls, good old papyrus, or leather, or clay tablets, or engraved rocks that have been found buried—that’s how much some wanted to preserve old writings and sacred texts.)

About the Craig’s list story: Someone bartered up from a cell phone to a Porsche.


Beats me.

The topper, though, was that someone bartered up from a red paperclip to a house.

Yesterday I was sharing with my friend June who is an artist and would appreciate the movie we had seen the night before. It was Arts and Crafts, a documentary about Mark Landis, one of the most prolific art forgers in US history. This eccentric man copied the masters, didn’t sell them, but donated them to museums and galleries. The museums were happy, and greedy, to get their hands on such “valuable” works, and even their “experts” couldn’t tell they weren’t authentic. Landis was using gels and acrylic and colored pencils, and instant coffee to age them—modern day materials, imagine, on such artists as Monet. Because he didn’t receive any money from them it was not a crime.

June told me about Uncle Buds. I had heard about this eccentric old man she knew many years ago, but not this story: Uncle Buds was a master engraver, and he could also copy Rembrandt to a T.  The FBI often investigated him, for with his skill he could easily be a counterfeiter.  One day the FBI visited, inspected his work, found that no money was being created, and paid no attention to the many Rembrandt engravings scattered about over this table.

 “You always seem to have money,” June once asked him. “Do you make it?”

“Oh no,” he said, “never. But I make excellent Rembrandts.”

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