We’re being watched. I wanted to be up front about this–it’s my fault. This site collects cookies. REQUIRES cookies. The irony of this is that my computer settings have been pointedly turned away from any sites that collect cookies. Yet, once my friend Diane helped me put together this web-site and blog, I was unable to post anything in this space. It wouldn’t let me log in to blog. She couldn’t figure out why. I finally did.

I went into that little box that says “security” and checked the place where it gives permission to collect data. To collect cookies. There is only one other site listed there–one that I’ve agreed can track my computer strokes. Ironically, that’s the government. I’ve been doing breeding bird surveying for Massachusetts Audubon, and they use software from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I wanted to help out, so I compromised–“just this once.” I gave permission for the government to enter my computer. How ironic. As soon as I glimpse that last breeding kingbird of summer, I’m ripping them out of there. But who knows if the data biters will actually withdraw the troops…?

So now, in order to be a blogger, I’m comprimising both of us. How does that make you feel? Once I checked the cookies thing, I was able to log in. Now I can blog to my heart’s content–each keystroke becoming a valued addition to the collected babble of the information age. So, BEWARE ALL WHO ENTER HERE! I’m sorry we’re being watched. We now have a government that is the world’s largest collector of information. We now have an executive branch that is the most secretive in the history of this country. I know how that makes me feel: ANGRY, COMPROMISED, and more than a bit OUTRAGED. Like you I’m hoping the feelings pass with a second cup of coffee.

But this brings up questions for me. If this site is mine, and its collecting cookies, who exactly is eating them? Am I eating my own cookies? Can I offer them around? Would you like a cookie? I don’t even know where the jar is. I’m not even hungry, you? Also, and I’m not sure about this–am I eating YOUR cookies? Or is someone else eating OUR cookies? I guess what is most important to know is that THERE ARE COOKIES HERE! If you’re intelligent, or dieting, or wary of today’s inordinate appetite for secret data, I strongly advise you to take your shopping cart elsewhere. We’ve had our cup of coffee and we’ll just call it a day. Oh, but–are you going to eat these?

As to my more thoughtful and paranoid thoughts on the whole idea of data mining and freedom, I will post my first piece under “humor”–after I send this one into the “politics” category. It’s an essay that appeared in June in Hampshire Life Magazine, called “Already in the System.” You can find it in the Humor Category. The irony there is–even if you don’t find it funny, some data grinch will see that you went to the box that said “humor.”