Big Brother
The Tenth Line
What Time Is It
CIA Human Experiments
BB Humor
Cellphone willies

Big Brother

You know when I was a kid I never lost a game against my sisters and brother. They thought I was the ultimate big brother.

The fact is, quite simply, I'd cheat.

As the oldest, as big brother, I'd establish the rules. We'd play and I'd cheat and I'd win. Occasionally one of them would catch me cheating and I'd either deny it or I'd simply claim that what I was doing was in the "rules."

If they pulled out the rule book, I'd say "we've always done it like this" or, "I said we could do that at the beginning" or, sometimes, "okay, you can't do that anymore from now on." Get it?---I changed the rules to fit my purpose.  If one of them tried to do what I did, I'd bust them for cheating and kick them out of the game.

The funny thing is that they were aware of it. After a while every time we'd start a game one of my sisters would say to me "OK, but no cheating this time."  I'd get pissed off and say "I don't cheat!" Then we'd play, I'd cheat, and I'd win.

This went on for years. Like I said, I never lost a game.

What was fascinating about all this wasn't the fact that I cheated, it was the fact that they kept wanting to play the game with me. Not only that, they kept letting me make the rules.

They let me make the rules and they played even though they must have suspected that I was cheating and that they would lose.

For years.                             ---Spell Caster

Kid stuff? Not exactly---the fact is that we all "play" with Big Brother every day we’re alive. And Big Brother plays the game of life remarkably close to what you see above. Whether you’re struggling with a cop trying to meet his quota or an eager-beaver IRS agent trying to get a promotion by "collecting" more than the other agents, we’re all engaged in a never-ending game to be treated fairly by Big Brother. But fairness doesn’t come easily.

Let’s say your property taxes were just increased 45%. You go down to Big Brother's assessment office and complain. Does he bother to tell you that the guy down the street from you in the fancy house has an assessment lower than your own? Not hardly---assessors think they are paid to keep evaluations as high as possible. Is he cheating by failing to tell you the whole truth? Yes, he is. He might not have been under a legal mandate to tell you more truth, but he surely had a moral obligation to enlighten you.

You see, he WORKS for you! YOU pay HIS salary. The same rule holds for all government bureaucrats, agents, and functionaries. The problem is that they get to thinking they are Big Brother and that they don’t HAVE to treat you fairly. And once they give up the fairness concept, it’s a short step to start cheating.

Is there an answer? Why not sue the rascals individually? As far as that goes, there may be good reason to gently warn them that you are vaguely thinking about suing them---as individuals. Suppose you told them that IF you did file suit, you would have authority to come inspect ALL their records---not just the records that they condescendingly have shown you up to that point (usually to "prove" you should be assessed MORE).

Who knows---Big Brother may decide to play just a little more fairly.



The Tenth Line

When I was much younger, Big Brother sent me to the police station once to be fingerprinted for a job. While waiting, the captain’s secretary came out to put something on the bulletin board. I realized I knew her and we chatted a moment. I noticed that the paper she was pinning up was a list of names that looked more or less like this…

Pfc. Jones…………436

Tpr. Smith………...388

Cpl. Harris………...365

Pfc. Maloney………306

(and so on for some 60+ officers)

Immediately following the tenth officer's name was a neatly ruled RED LINE.  I asked the lady what the red line signified.

She winked and said, "The officers know." Suddenly, I did too.  Big Brother wanted them to know their score in the ticket writing game, perhaps so they could understand the promotion process better.



What Time Is It?

You’re digging a hole. Maybe you’re filling up a hole. Or you could be fixing a leak under the sink. Perhaps you decide to conduct a little business out of your basement---whatever.

So, for whatever reason, you decide to make yourself subservient to the bureaucracy and apply for a "permit." You want Big Brother to OK whatever it is that you are prepared to do.

The permit office is a pain. No one really wants to help you. They want you to wait---or take a number---or something. It’s like you’re in a never ending dream world. After a half-hour, or hour, or who knows how long, you want to scream.

That’s one way to get your precious permit---by simply waiting. Another is to learn to ask the time and then to write it down. 

When you first get to Big Brother's office, you should walk around the line, go to the front, and ask the clerk what time it is. Then make a big show of writing it down in your little book and go back to your place in line.  After 5 minutes or so, do the same thing.  Ignore all those other people waiting because they are not YOUR problem.  You may have to do this a third or fourth time.  For whatever reason, you're going to get (and I'm speaking relatively) faster service.

Now you're at the counter and a twerp Big Brother is finding fault with whatever you want a permit for.  Demand his name.  Write it down and ask the time.  Sure there is a clock on the wall, but that is not the point.  You want him seeing you write down what he just told you.  You want him to understand that you are keeping a full record---a diary of your experiences in his little kingdom.

Now it gets ticklish.  If he objects to what you wish to do, demand to know if anyone else has ever been granted a waiver.  Write down his answer and the time.  Do this for each and every objection he has.  You have him boxed at this point.  If he claimed no one has been granted a waiver, he is almost surely lying because that is what waivers are all about.  If he admits that someone else got a waiver, then you should demand a similar waiver.  Do this for every denial or demand he makes.

If you get Big Brother's permission slip, go on home.  If you don't, request to see a bigger Big Brother.  Then ask him the time.

Everyone I know who ever adopted this procedure got what they wanted.

Now ask yourself why did you want it in the first place.


A Short History of Secret US Human Biological Experimentation

So you think the "conspiracy theorists" are ALL a bunch of wackos?

(From an forthcoming book: MKULTRA: The CIA's top secret program in behavior modification and human experimentation)

1931  Dr. Cornelius Rhoads, under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations, infects human subjects with cancer cells. He later goes on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah, and Panama, and is named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. While there, he begins a series of radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients.

1932  The Tuskegee Syphilis Study begins. 200 black men diagnosed with syphilis are never told of their illness, are denied treatment, and instead are used as human guinea pigs in order to follow the progression and symptoms of the disease. They all subsequently die from syphilis, their families never told that they could have been treated.

1935  The Pellagra Incident. After millions of individuals die from Pellagra over a span of two decades, the U.S. Public Health Service finally acts to stem the disease. The director of the agency admits it had known for at least 20 years that Pellagra is caused by a niacin deficiency but failed to act since most of the deaths occurred within poverty-level black populations.

1940  Four hundred prisoners in Chicago are infected with Malaria in order to study the effects of new and experimental drugs to combat the disease. Nazi doctors later on trial at Nuremberg cite this American study to defend their own actions during the Holocaust.

1942  Chemical Warfare Services begins mustard gas experiments on approximately 4,000 servicemen. The experiments continue until 1945 and made use of Seventh Day Adventists who chose to become human guinea pigs rather than serve on active duty.

1943  In response to Japan's full-scale germ warfare program, the U.S. begins research on biological weapons at Fort Detrick, MD.

1944 U.S. Navy uses human subjects to test gas masks and clothing. Individuals were locked in a gas chamber and exposed to mustard gas and lewisite.

1945  Project Paperclip is initiated. The U.S. State Department, Army intelligence, and the CIA recruit Nazi scientists and offer them immunity and secret identities in exchange for work on top secret government projects in the United States.

1945  "Program F" is implemented by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). This is the most extensive U.S. study of the health effects of fluoride, which was the key chemical component in atomic bomb production. One of the most toxic chemicals known to man, fluoride, it is found, causes marked adverse effects to the central nervous system but much of the information is squelched in the name of national security because of fear that lawsuits would undermine full-scale production of atomic bombs.

1946  Patients in VA hospitals are used as guinea pigs for medical experiments. In order to allay suspicions, the order is given to change the word "experiments" to "investigations" or "observations" whenever reporting a medical study performed in one of the nation's veteran's hospitals.

1947  Colonel E. E. Kirkpatrick of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission issues a secret document (Document 07075001, January 8, 1947) stating that the agency will begin administering intravenous doses of radioactive substances to human subjects.

1947  The CIA begins its study of LSD as a potential weapon for use by American intelligence. Human subjects (both civilian and military) are used with and without their knowledge.

1950  Department of Defense begins plans to detonate nuclear weapons in desert areas and monitor downwind residents for medical problems and mortality rates.

1950 I n an experiment to determine how susceptible an American city would be to biological attack, the U.S. Navy sprays a cloud of bacteria from ships over San Francisco. Monitoring devices are situated throughout the city in order to test the extent of infection. Many residents become ill with pneumonia-like symptoms.

1951  Department of Defense begins open air tests using disease-producing bacteria and viruses. Tests last through 1969 and there is concern that people in the surrounding areas have been exposed.

1953  U.S. military releases clouds of zinc cadmium sulfide gas over Winnipeg, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Fort Wayne, the Monocacy River Valley in Maryland, and Leesburg, Virginia. Their intent is to determine how efficiently they could disperse chemical agents.

1953  Joint Army-Navy-CIA experiments are conducted in which tens of thousands of people in New York and San Francisco are exposed to the airborne germs Serratia marcescens and Bacillus glogigii.

1953  CIA initiates Project MKULTRA. This is an eleven year research program designed to produce and test drugs and biological agents that would be used for mind control and behavior modification. Six of the subprojects involved testing the agents on unwitting human beings.

1955  The CIA, in an experiment to test its ability to infect human populations with biological agents, releases a bacteria withdrawn from the Army's biological warfare arsenal over Tampa Bay, Fl.

1955  Army Chemical Corps continues LSD research, studying its potential use as a chemical incapacitating agent. More than 1,000 Americans participate in the tests, which continue until 1958.

1956  U.S. military releases mosquitoes infected with Yellow Fever over Savannah, GA and Avon Park, Fl. Following each test, Army agents posing as public health officials test victims for effects.

1958  LSD is tested on 95 volunteers at the Army's Chemical Warfare Laboratories for its effect on intelligence.

1960  The Army Assistant Chief-of-Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) authorizes field testing of LSD in Europe and the Far East. Testing of the european population is code named Project THIRD CHANCE; testing of the Asian population is code named Project DERBY HAT.

1965  Project CIA and Department of Defense begin Project MKSEARCH, a program to develop a capability to manipulate human behavior through the use of mind-altering drugs.

1965  Prisoners at the Holmesburg State Prison in Philadelphia are subjected to dioxin, the highly toxic chemical component of Agent Orange used in Viet Nam. The men are later studied for development of cancer, which indicates that Agent Orange had been a suspected carcinogen all along.

1966  CIA initiates Project MKOFTEN, a program to test the toxicological effects of certain drugs on humans and animals.

1966  U.S. Army dispenses Bacillus subtilis variant niger throughout the New York City subway system. More than a million civilians are exposed when army scientists drop lightbulbs filled with the bacteria onto ventilation grates.

1967  CIA and Department of Defense implement Project MKNAOMI, successor to MKULTRA and designed to maintain, stockpile and test biological and chemical weapons.

1968  CIA experiments with the possibility of poisoning drinking water by injecting chemicals into the water supply of the FDA in Washington, D.C.

1969  Dr. Robert MacMahan of the Department of Defense requests from congress $10 million to develop, within 5 to 10 years, a synthetic biological agent to which no natural immunity exists.

1970  Funding for the synthetic biological agent is obtained under H.R. 15090. The project, under the supervision of the CIA, is carried out by the Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, the army's top secret biological weapons facility. Speculation is raised that molecular biology techniques are used to produce AIDS-like retroviruses.

1970  United States intensifies its development of "ethnic weapons" (Military Review, Nov., 1970), designed to selectively target and eliminate specific ethnic groups who are susceptible due to genetic differences and variations in DNA.

1975  The virus section of Fort Detrick's Center for Biological Warfare Research is renamed the Fredrick Cancer Research Facilities and placed under the supervision of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) . It is here that a special virus cancer program is initiated by the U.S. Navy, purportedly to develop cancer-causing viruses. It is also here that retrovirologists isolate a virus to which no immunity exists. It is later named HTLV (Human T-cell Leukemia Virus).

1977  Senate hearings on Health and Scientific Research confirm that 239 populated areas had been contaminated with biological agents between 1949 and 1969. Some of the areas included San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Key West, Panama City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis.

1978  Experimental Hepatitis B vaccine trials, conducted by the CDC, begin in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Ads for research subjects specifically ask for promiscuous homosexual men.

1981  First cases of AIDS are confirmed in homosexual men in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, triggering speculation that AIDS may have been introduced via the Hepatitis B vaccine

1985  According to the journal Science (227:173-177), HTLV and VISNA, a fatal sheep virus, are very similar, indicating a close taxonomic and evolutionary relationship.

1986  According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (83:4007-4011), HIV and VISNA are highly similar and share all structural elements, except for a small segment which is nearly identical to HTLV. This leads to speculation that HTLV and VISNA may have been linked to produce a new retrovirus to which no natural immunity exists.

1986  A report to Congress reveals that the U.S. Government's current generation of biological agents includes: modified viruses, naturally occurring toxins, and agents that are altered through genetic engineering to change immunological character and prevent treatment by all existing vaccines.

1987  Department of Defense admits that, despite a treaty banning research and development of biological agents, it continues to operate research facilities at 127 facilities and universities around the nation.

1990  More than 1500 six-month old black and hispanic babies in Los Angeles are given an "experimental" measles vaccine that had never been licensed for use in the United States. CDC later admits that parents were never informed that the vaccine being injected to their children was experimental.

1994  With a technique called "gene tracking," Dr. Garth Nicolson at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX discovers that many returning Desert Storm veterans are infected with an altered strain of Mycoplasma incognitus, a microbe commonly used in the production of biological weapons. Incorporated into its molecular structure is 40 percent of the HIV protein coat, indicating that it had been man-made.

1994  Senator John D. Rockefeller issues a report revealing that for at least 50 years the Department of Defense has used hundreds of thousands of military personnel in human experiments and for intentional exposure to dangerous substances. Materials included mustard and nerve gas, ionizing radiation, psychochemicals, hallucinogens, and drugs used during the Gulf War .

1995  U.S. Government admits that it had offered Japanese war criminals and scientists who had performed human medical experiments salaries and immunity from prosecution in exchange for data on biological warfare research.

1995  Dr. Garth Nicolson, uncovers evidence that the biological agents used during the Gulf War had been manufactured in Houston, TX and Boca Raton, Fl and tested on prisoners in the Texas Department of Corrections.

1996  Department of Defense admits that Desert Storm soldiers were exposed to chemical agents.

1997  Eighty-eight members of Congress sign a letter demanding an investigation into bioweapons use & Gulf War Syndrome.



Big Brother Humor

The "Snappy Comebacks" page from an unofficial government clerk training manual...

  1. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
  2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
  3. How about never? Is never good enough for you?
  4. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
  5. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.
  6. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
  7. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...
  8. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
  9. It sounds like English, but I can't understand a word you're saying.
  10. If I throw a stick, will you leave?
  11. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.
  12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of the public
  13. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't care.
  14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
  15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
  16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique problem.
  17. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
  18. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
  19. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.
  20. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
  21. You sound reasonable... Time to up the medication.
  22. Who, me help you? Sorry, I just wander from room to room.
  23. And your crybaby whiny-butt problem would be...?
  24. Do I look like a people person?
  25. This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.
  26. I started out with nothing & still have most of it left.
  27. You!... Out of my line and off my planet!
  28. Does your train of problems have a caboose?
  29. If errors have been made, others will be blamed.
  30. Allow me to introduce my selves.
  31. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
  32. You feel chaos, panic, disorder? Good, my work here is done.
  33. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted the paychecks.


    Tales from Fringe-Land: Cellular Phone Call from Nowhere

Time for a funny but strange and totally true tale which happened to me recently. First, some background:  I have owned a cellular analog phone, with the same phone number since the start, for about 7 years, and always through Bell Atlantic Wireless, which is now known as Verizon Wireless.  Recently, in early October 2000, in preparation for a trip to California during which it would be necessary to stay in touch with a number of friends, I decided to upgrade my cellular service (as well as phone) to a nationwide digital plan with Verizon Wireless, and did so in time for the trip.  I used the phone frequently during my trip to California in late October, and the service worked quite well from a number of locations in airports across the country and throughout Los Angeles.  

Early in the afternoon of Monday, October 23, while I was sitting in my hotel room overlooking the beach in Santa Monica, my cell phone rang.  I was not at all surprised, since I was expecting calls from two friends. However, the ring, while exhibiting the same sound and duration as my normal ring, was quite a bit louder than I had grown accustomed to, and I noted that as a distinct oddity as I answered the phone.  The caller turned out to be neither of my friends, but rather a woman whom I did not know, who started with “Sir, whatever you do, please do not hang up; this is not a marketing call!” and then identified herself to me as “Susan”, a “database manager” for a private communications company (something like “Nortwestern Networks” in Colorado.  Susan then asked me if I was the owner of “301-xxx-xxxx”, which happens to be my cell phone number as well as the number she was calling.  I confirmed that, and said that this was indeed a phone number which I owned.  She proceeded to tell me that in her capacity as database manager she had noticed that I had routed 3 calls through their “secure network”, and she wished to know how I had the authority to do this, and what “agency” I was with, since I was NOT known to her as an “authorized user”.

Although it was dawning on me that this was a highly unusual call, and I was starting to make a few guesses about the nature of the call, I played a bit dumb. I demanded to know what kind of network she was talking about, and why she would think that I had any ability to “route my calls” through her network. She responded that her company operates a large but totally isolated and secure private phone network and that I had routed three telephone calls of some sort thru her network that morning, and again asked me what my agency was and what my authority was.  At her mention that I had made those calls just that morning, my blood went a bit cold, and time slowed down.  I had indeed been making cell phone calls all morning while driving around LA, but what scared me was the fact that she was referring not to 3 calls placed a month or two ago, but rather this same morning.  This was eerie, at the least.  Even the best-staffed cell phone or landline telephone company will have a time lag of at least a month or two in tracking and accounting for some unusual calls, and further, most will ignore the matter entirely unless the cost is over about a thousand dollars -- it sis a simple cost-benefit ratio analysis. For her to be checking on three calls, each a few minutes along, and probably amounting to $2 of phone changes, which I had placed just that morning seemed to indicate that I had stumbled onto something really unusual. What company in world has resources to allow a “database manager” to track calls so closely that she is tracking 6 dollars worth of unusual calls within 2 hours?  None to my knowledge!

I asked her to repeat her name, and again she gave me her first name only, and again her company name. I then told her that I had indeed placed a number of phone calls that morning, and perhaps some of them had been routed by my carrier through their network as part of a telecommunications routing arrangement. She grew a bit alarmed, and asked me what carrier I was talking about. I explained that this phone number belonged to my cell phone, and that my vendor/carrier is Verizon Digital Wireless. She was a bit stunned and aghast. She asked me to confirm that I was really using a cellular phone, and a civilian consumer phone at that, which I did indeed respond “yes” to.  She now appeared very confused and angry.  

She then told me that there might be one possible answer to this puzzle, and asked me how long I had owned this number -- perhaps only for a few days?  I replied in the negative, and responded that I had owned this same number thru Bell/Verizon Wireless for over 7 years, but however had recently upgraded from analog cellular to digital cellular, and again reassured her that I have no control over which “newtork” my calls get routed when I place a call from my cell phone, as I am just a “plain old consumer”.  She was flabbergasted, and hinted that I must be lying, or that I must have somehow “hacked” or modified my phone and gained some top security access codes. I replied with a “no” to all of her scenarios, and then counter-attacked a bit, since I was getting really annoyed. I reminded her that I was just one of millions of consumer cellular customers of Verizon Wireless, and that if she did not like how Verizon was routing their calls through her network, she should really have called Verizon Wireless and not me.  Susan replied rather strongly that her company has no business or network arrangement with Verizon or any other consumer wireless carrier, and that the “incursions” on her network that morning as recorded in her database showed that I had routed the calls myself, and that there was no involvement from Verizon.  About here is where things got really interesting and where I started to feel like I was in a netherworld.

I had noticed from the start of the call that this was the loudest call I had ever had on my cell phone. I usually keep my receiver volume setting quite low, but her voice was literally booming at me at full volume.  I pulled the phone away from my ear to reset the volume and noticed that the screen on the phone was not registering a call in progress (it read “busy” only) and was not showing any calling number. Now, that is really unusual, since even if a caller’s number is unknown or privacy-protected, the screen will display ”Call from: Unknown”.  I put the phone back to my ear and mentioned this to Susan her, and asked her for her number. She refused to give me her phone number, and told me haughtily that she was not calling me through Verizon or any other known network, and thus my phone would not have any record of the call, nor would Verizon. She said she was making a secure call by linking (“super link”) directly into my phone, and that there was no record anywhere on earth that this call was taking place.

She insisted that I must stop immediately my “actions” of routing my calls through her private secure network, stating once again that she was certain that I was using a special secure phone (rather than a simple cellular phone) with the ability to pick and take over secure networks.  I again reassured her that I was just a cellular consumer user and have no choice over how and where Verizon routes my many cellular phone calls on their way to their destination .  She then insisted that I stop using my phone, which I refused to do, maintaining that I was nothing more than an innocent Verizon Digital Wireless customer/user, and she had no authority to harass me in such a manner.

She started getting cranky, and told me that she was going to remove me from her database, and that this action would hopefully prevent me from illegally using their network in the future. She further told me that if I were telling the truth about really being a consumer cellular phone user, then Verizon must have made some serious errors in programming my phone, and that my phone might go dead within the hour, or that I might at least be unable to place long distance calls, from this moment onward. 

Since we were really getting nowhere, and her vague answers and vague insinuations were irritating me, I terminated the call after one more iteration of the inane exchange repeated above.  Interestingly, when I went, after the call, to my “Contacts Log” in the phone’s memory (also called a “recent call stack”), there was no record of an incoming call during that 15 minutes in which the call had occurred.  I would have expected the log to have shown an incoming call with the label “Unknown” under “caller’s number”, but there was no record at all of the call.

I was now a bit angry. I immediately dialed the 800 number for Verizon Wireless and demanded to speak to a supervisor. As I started to tell my story, the Verizon representative stopped me cold. He told me that this was a matter of serious concern to Verizon, and that he was gong to put me on hold for about 2 minutes while he contacted a technical support specialist elsewhere in the country. He returned in about 90 seconds, and this time he introduced the specialist, named “Ted”, who immediately asked me to hold my story until he could contact yet a second, senior specialist elsewhere in the country whom he needed to hear the story from start to finish. When he had the new specialist (“Ron”) on the line as well, Bob then asked me to tell my story to the three of them, which I did, pretty much as iterated above.  They did not seem very surprised, and simply reassured me that I had not done anything wrong, and that they had already remotely tested my phone (during our call) and it was perfectly fine, operating only as it should be.

The two techs at Verizon Wireless told me that this has never happened to any of their consumer customers before (I do wonder at the veracity of this statement, however, given the extraordinary level of their response to my complaint), but that they suspected that Verizon Wireless or one of their network subcontractors must have mistakenly routed three of my calls that morning through this “company’s” secure private network. Ron then further speculated that we would find that there was no such private company in Colorado bearing the name given me, that the only likely explanation was that my call was from a top secret government communication facility, and that my calls must have somehow been routed through one of their secure networks, causing them a great deal of alarm. 

He was rather puzzled as to how this could have happened, and confessed that while Verizon was currently, that morning, having some nasty network problems on the East Coast, there were none to his knowledge on the West Coast.  In any event, Ron took great pains to assure me, my phone was fine, was not “trespassing”, and would continue to place all my calls properly, despite the weird threats from my recent caller.  Ron then proceeded to give me a telephone number at which he could be reached anytime, and asked me to call him immediately if my mystery caller ever called again, or if I experienced any disruption in my cellular service. 

Ron also asked me, if Susan or anyone else from “Northwestern” in Colorado called again, to ask them to please call him immediately at the number he had given me. He confessed that he was as puzzled as I that Susan would have called me rather than Verizon, and also at the fact that her call was not recorded in my cellular phone’s contact log, although he mentioned that there are several ways that a caller with enough savvy and technical equipment could accomplish just that.  He did not seem particularly surprised at the inability to trace the call (e.g., nothing on my screen, no record in my phone log).

My cellular phone has continued to work perfectly since the strange call.  Further, I have not had any recurrences of this mystery call in the ensuing week, and look back on the call with amusement and wonder.  It is obvious that someone was quite annoyed and also a bit perplexed, and that they had tried mild verbal intimidation when all else failed.  I continue to wonder how my three calls ended up on someone’s private network, and how “Susan” got into my phone without leaving a trace.

A follow up call on November 8th to Ron at Verizon Wireless yielded no significant additional information. He said he had not received any similar complaints, and he could offer no theories other than his original. Neither had he nor I received any further calls from the mysterious “database manager”.  Ron did mention that he could think of several ways that a savvy caller could access my phone thru a “back door”, the easiest being “taking over a node” in the network.  We both agreed that this whole episode was a rather interesting and unusual incident, and we’d love to learn more about it someday!

Webmaster's comments:  The writer of this Fringe-Land "Tale" is a personal friend and he has sworn to me that it is a true account, written to the best of his ability, of events that happened to him in October, 2000.  Although he is reluctant to publicly post his contact info, he has agreed to respond to queries.    In some cases, he may elect to respond directly.  In other cases a response will be posted here in a "Q&A" format.  Please direct your query to and it will be relayed to him promptly.