2007.04.25 Tracking them down

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Junk mail seems so blasé, so yesterday, so 1998. Nowadays, it’s junk telephone calls and it’s threatening the well-being of our phones.

I just can’t hang up the phone the same way when it’s one of the robo-calls offering cut-rate health insurance or a trip to the Bahamas.

Kim in the front office said one day last week that it seemed most every call she was answering was a junk call.

I occasionally get the interesting sales call, such as the company from India that wants to print the Observer every week (But do I have to go pick it up?).

And though junk mail is somewhat of the past, I have to admit, I still get some interesting stuff now and then.

A few weeks ago a card came in the mail offering the Millennium Plus GPS system used to track down an employee named Bob.

See Bob (Bob says he’s stuck in traffic and can’t make his appointment). See Bob slack (with a map of his location). Fire Bob.

The graphic shows Bob wearing a diving mask. The map shows the location of Bob’s car, parked near the beach. Bob missed his appointment and cost the company $1,100.

For only 600 bucks, I could attach a stealth tracking device to Bob’s vehicle. But since I don’t know Bob, I could hide it on Jeff Pickell’s Saturn and when that bum says he’s off to Fayette to chase down some news, I can sit at my computer and watch his every move.

He’s parked on Main Street in Fayette, probably to drop off a few newspapers at  Beaverson’s realty office. Maybe he’ll pop into the village office to say hello.

And now the car is moving again. He’s heading south and west. He’s at Harrison Lake State Park. I’ll bet he’s wearing a diving mask. Not that you can actually see through the water, but I’m on to Pickell. He probably just lost this company $1,100 like the advertisement says.

And now it really gets fun. I can program his car so the doors will automatically stay locked. And then I can wait a while and unlock them, but then disable his starter.

Look at the net result here. I can waste the morning by watching him waste the morning.

I wonder how small this device is. It reminds me of the old computer-chip-in-the-buttock story. Some people claim to have a chip implanted and the government is watching their every move. Or aliens are watching. Or maybe it’s just their boss.

The Millennium Plus—about as thick as a D  size battery—looks like it might be a little uncomfortable to sit on, but if you want to work for me, you gotta put up with a little discomfort now and then.

This reminds me of the junk e-mail I received last week about the StealthSwitch for employees to use at work. This is where Jeff gets his revenge. Install this device on your computer and a simple shifting of feet will cover up the game you were playing or the instant message window and bring the story you were supposed to be writing back into view on your computer screen.

Now I’m not saying that anyone in my office seems to make quick keyboard commands when I walk nearby, as the StealthSwitch people write about, but why risk looking a little jumpy when this thing can be controlled by a foot, out of sight.

I thought this device was surely a joke, but I found enough references to convince me otherwise. The Desktop Cloaking Device is available for less than 30 bucks.

The company’s ad shows how to switch from card game to spreadsheet with a simple click of the foot.

I’m going to be watching your feet, Mr. Pickell.

The strangest junk mail in a long time arrived just last week. I received an offer to buy the Wireless Moose Fence, a patented moose training system.

Strange because of the likelihood that someone in southern Michigan might have the need for a moose fence. Stranger yet because the company is based in Indiana, where Hoosiers, not moose, roam free.

I should buy a set, replace the moose scent with Diet Vernors and place them out at Harrison Lake. Jeff Pickell will come around, sniff it out, get shocked on his snout and head back home to Morenci—tail tucked behind him, down around the Millennium Plus he now has implanted.

    – April 25, 2007 
  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

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