Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m just as upset as I can be at the thought that my government continues to collect raw data about my phone calls without my permission, and just between you and me I want it to stop immediately.

Some say most Americans don’t understand the difference between tracking metadata around phone calls and “listening in” to what is said in the conversations.

They say I’m confused over this issue. In the parlance of today’s youth, they call me “all messed up.”

But how would they know how “messed up” I am unless they were listening to my phone calls?

That’s where you’d find sure evidence – the wrong numbers I dial, the incoherent messages I leave, my pointless rants, my misdirected anger, my smothering over-involvement in other people’s lives, and my creepy drunken midnight calls that dissolve into soft whispers and sobbing.

So oh yes, I’m sure they’re listening.

If they don’t stop collecting this data soon, they should at least have a relationship expert or a voice analyst listen very closely to that short conversation I had last Thursday with Carol. I think she still has feelings for me, not because of anything she said, but more in the tone of her voice.

Why won’t the NSA confirm it? I know they have the technology!

Tormentedly,
B. Reft

I told B. Reft he is a good citizen for caring so passionately about this surveillance issue, but he should stop drawing conclusions from scanning the headlines only and take the extra time to read the entire article. And anyone who needs the help of an NSA voice analyst to keep love alive would be better off looking for a new relationship.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

25 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

  1. Perhaps allowing the NSA to confirm or deny the relative feelings of those we love from afar would allow the NSA to recognize that we are more than mere data, we are living, breathing human beings who suffer from heartbreak and episodes of inappropriate dialing. If we became human, then perhaps they would realize, too, that the data that they are gathering is also data on Aunt Madge who makes a call every week to the mosque down the road mostly because she forgets that the number she is dialing no longer belongs to the Woolworth’s where Billy used to be the soda jerk at the lunch counter. B.Reft, I’m afraid there’s not much for you. I, on the other hand, will continue to hope that, like The Prisoner, the NSA will perhaps finally understand that I am not a number – I am a free (wo)man!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Two comments first off. #1.If everyone would actually read the whole article instead of just the headline throughout each day, I think the world would be a better place.

    #2. I’m not nearly as concerned as B.Reft about who’s collecting what. With all the communication out in the world, there is too much data to even wade through – it would take almost all of us on the planet to actually listen in to all the calls/tweets/emails that go on every day!

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  3. You are far too optimistic, Anna. The NSA has “listened” to millions of phone calls without becoming even a tiny bit wiser or more compassionate that it ever was. Locked in a Manichean cosmology that divides the world into terrorists and everyone else, it cannot hear or grow. Phones ring millions and millions of times each day. In those calls, people share their passions, fears, dreams, terrors and all the trivia of daily life. The NSA stupidly monitors all of this, never noticing the irony, joy, pathos and terror whizzing up and down the phone lines. A prisoner of its own perception of life, the NSA is an idiot. And that is the thing I like most about the NSA. If I must have overseers, and it seems I must, I prefer that they are simple idiots incapable of learning anything.

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  4. Let’s see… Phrenology has been written off as bunk. We don’t want them to experiment on people with LSD anymore. No one writes letters anymore, so graphology is out. And taking saliva and body odor samples (like the Stasi did!) is just plain creepy…and takes up lots of space for pasteurized mason jars. Until they can control or eliminate this deadly and foolish notion of ‘thought,’ they’ve got to do ~something~ to perpetuate paranoia and fear.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve been thinking about this and realize they are barking up the wrong tree.

    Who has long phone conversations anymore? Not me. The one time I am on the phone at length is when my dad calls.

    If the NSA is interested in the weather and small town Iowa sports, surely there are more efficient ways to get that info.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. The NAS can’t even compete with the data gathering that goes on in small towns by the residents. In my home town, the saying goes don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your neighbors to find out about, because they will find out. I subscribe to the Rock County Star Herald, a weekly paper, and I love reading the police blotter section about all the calls the police get for so many fascinating concerns. The town where I live now is full of large extended families who love to talk and gossip about themselves. Nothing is really secret. People just want to make certain that their siblings or other relatives aren’t getting more than their fair shares of the estate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed. I lived in Northfield for a couple of years after I left Carleton and even though I was a misfit (not a student, but not really a townie either) it was still the proverbial fish bowl!

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    2. Long ago, I worked with a lovely woman who got her hometown (in ND) newspaper once a week and would bring it in and read aloud from it for us during lunch. We ways felt it was rather callous in the police report when they stated that someone had hit a deer with their car and there were no injuries. Tell that to the deer.

      This was the same group that started the workday with the LGMS. Happy days….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear bereft
    I’m sorry but the nsa technology is skewed towards protecting their own. It has not progressed much beyond Hal who possessed a fine voice but in response to Dave’s request to open the pod bay doors, refused in the same sweet tone. See if you can persuade Carol to sing Daisy. That might give you enough voice data to make a determination as to future romance.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I for one read the whole article as well as another one within the first one which was accessible through I believe what is called a link.Those NY Times people are as thorough as Dale! As I read, my inner dialogue went something like this: hmm, hmm?, hmm! and hmmmmmmm. And now in conclusion, like most Americans, I take the stance we should JUST SAY NO to unnecessary excessive nosiness, and HELL YEAH to “Please Mr. President, don’t let the big bad terrorists get us!”

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    1. Nice to have you back Donna
      There must have been some serious substituting if you really do like the trail well enough to visit once those South Dakota munchkins head off to the corn fields after the school teachers go on summer hiatus.
      Welcome.

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  9. Big day at the Arb. Lego sculptures were fun. Some beautiful. Glad our 10 &12 yea rolls still like it. Azaleas were amazing but bristling with hidden microphones.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Legos and kids
      The world is still intact
      Larry Harris my Lego friend who read Swiss family with me in 2nd grade was a Lego whiz kid even though he had terrible handwriting and couldn’t throw a baseball
      Legos uses a special part of the brain
      Is mr tuxedo 10?

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  10. When w and his henchmen were in office I disassociated with email activists who warned of the nazi notions of rove and Cheney
    Today I am a bit concerned that my left leaning rants on topics of fascist republican tendencies may cost me some business if printed on the front page of Renee’s hometown newspaper. I grew up with the same tendencies to curb my feelings but every now and then you have to call a pig bastard a pig bastard
    If they are listening they will understand that’s not terrorist but simple observation. I don’t need to say in my opinion…. Obviously it’s my opinion, that’s how come it came out of my mouth.
    Now if the folks who monitor stuff want to see if I’m dangerousness personified that’s up to them
    Scary folks are out there but I’m not sure trying to put it on tape is the way to bust it open
    If metadata mining can be stopped I would appreciate but don’t make me stop ranting about my god given right to complain.
    America is the worst form of government in the world except for all the others
    Ask Putin and the winner of the Olympic committee presidency who was forced to resign upon the discovery of wrong doing
    We can get it right when we look and I am ok with a little paranoia
    One of my favorite bumper stickers
    Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after me

    Liked by 1 person

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