A subversive, disturbing, and altogether remarkable exposure of our frightening transparency to government agencies, investigators, the media, and more malign forces.
Luna, a security consultant who “spent 11 years running a secret operation in Franco’s Spain” (presumably outwitting the state police), begins by presenting formidable evidence of the demolition of personal privacy in the information age, as well as a chilling hypothetical selection of ways in which this state of affairs can ruin the existence of Joe & Jane Citizen (from false criminal accusations to stalking to lawsuits). His wryly presented conclusion—that advanced privacy measures are “flood insurance”—are borne out through the clear-headed instructional chapters that follow. First he shows how to protect one’s physical space: how to construct an alternative mail-drop and “ghost” address, how to keep your real domicile unknown, and how to avoid using one’s social-security number and birthdate for identification purposes. Although his suggestions seem surprisingly simple, he offers stern disclaimers to consult legal professionals. Further chapters delve deeply into the complicated netherworld of trusts, limited-liability companies, personal nominees, secret home businesses, anonymous travel, hidden ownership of vehicles and real estate, and so forth. One cannot but note that such information, although certainly invaluable to people in particular demographics (such as undercover cops or abused women, who might well need to “disappear”), is most often utilized by a new breed of transnational organized crime (with examples evident from Nick Leeson to the Russian Mafia). Yet Luna—whose slightly ornate prose suggests Nero Wolfe after several Belgian ales—makes a bracing, serious argument for the aggressive defense of one’s informational and asset privacy, acidly noting throughout how governmental entities constantly attempt to seal the doors of invisibility, as in their harrassment of mail-receiving services.
This is a memorable work which should be considered by many and undoubtedly will be acted upon by some.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)