Editor’s Notebook


Books, dragons and a scam



I love movies/shows and I love books.

But these things are not the same. They touch the soul at different levels, work on the brain in twists and turns that make us think in different ways.

Until recently, after a conversation with my critical, analytic youngest son (age 18), I naively thought the way most of us experience these things is similar. But, never assume, I must once again remind myself.

This, to me, is the difference: Film is visual and external, and books take place internally, as an experienced thing.

I think this difference is the reason people say that the book is always better than the movie. I don’t agree with that statement, but I do think no matter how closely aligned, book and movie are very different experiences which touch different parts of us.

Having read (listened to) the existing “Game of Throne” books, I never could build an interest in watching the series. I know it is excellently produced and acted, a fantastic illustrated version of the writings of George R.R. Martin. I have seen some episodes and appreciate them, but they can’t be what the pages mean to me.

A dragon on a television screen is not the same as a dragon flapping overhead – the smell, the fear, the noise. The smell of blood, the reverberation of screams, the coarse feel of wolf fur and tooth and the betrayal deep under the human breastbone of the “red wedding” are flat and far away on that screen. Shocking, sure, but safely apart and away. Not for me, I haven’t watched that episode, but I know the watcher is far safer than the reader who virtually is there with the dying and the dead.

The craft of the filmmaker is that of a puppeteer who creates and moves his own puppets in a fitted puzzle to promote illusion and story. The pieces of a film come together not only through scenes, ordered to flow sensibly (sometimes only coming together at the end) and are made up of characters, ambience, props and scenery. Color pallets set the existence of the story and everything comes together to create a whole, a piece which might be a classic or a flop.

A book, on the other hand has only words on paper to carry it through. Beginnings and endings are not so finite, characters let you into their minds, the twists of the psyche and thought processes gnaw on the reader to greater or lesser degrees and senses are engaged.

Is one better than the other? No, they are entirely different.


After writing about phone scams in the October issue and inviting folks to share their own experiences I received the following from Bonnie Miller, who had I very frustrating phone experience:

“Today between 8 a.m.  and 3 p.m., I have received seven calls from my own phone number.  I have not been answering, but after three calls, I did answer as I was curious how I was getting calls from my own number. It was a recording stating if I did not comply with their request they were with Microsoft and my license would be revoked. I did not continue so I do not know what the request was. I received four more calls after that but did not answer. I am sure this is a scam.  Do you have any info?”

This is what I found out. It’s from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office:

Scam artists now use technology to make a person's caller ID show their own name and phone number-making it appear as though a person is calling him or herself. These scam artists are falsifying – or "spoofing" – caller ID information. Spoofing scams are often perpetrated by criminal gangs located outside the state or country attempting to mask their identity and evade law enforcement.

Under the Federal Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, using caller ID spoofing to defraud someone is a crime. Scam artists who use spoofing technology perpetrate so-called card services scams, medical alert device scams, and several other scams. These scams are usually designed to steal money or personal information, so it is very important to be wary of calls that appear to come from your own name and phone number. You should never provide your personal or financial information to unknown callers. Theft of personal and financial information is a crime and should be reported to local authorities.

It is generally a good idea not to answer a phone call that appears to be from your own phone number. There is typically no legitimate reason for a person to receive such a call, and by answering, the scam artist is notified that your number is active, often leading to more scam calls. Unfortunately, scammers who use caller ID spoofing to steal money or personal information ignore established means of stopping unwanted calls, such as the National Do Not Call Registry, and are not dissuaded from calling by the fact that a person's number is on the no-call list.

If you receive a call that appears to come from your own name and telephone number, you should take the following steps:

  1. Report the call to your phone company, which may be able to offer calling features that block unwanted calls.
  2. Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These agencies have the authority to enforce federal laws that regulate caller ID spoofing, as well as autodialed and prerecorded message calls. The FCC can also impose fines on individuals and entities that violate those laws.
  3. Report the call to the Public Utilities Commission in your state.
  4. If you lost money to a criminal scam, report the matter to your local police or county sheriff or the FBI. These agencies have the authority to investigate and prosecute criminal matters.

We would like to hear from the community about frauds and scams you have encountered so we can pass the information along to our readers: editor@desertexposure.com.

Elva K. Österreich is editor of Desert Exposure and would love to meet Desert Exposure readers during her office hours in Silver City on Thursday, December 19, at the Tranquilbuzz Café, located at the corner of Yankie and Texas streets. If that is not a good time, Elva will be glad to arrange another day to meet and you can always reach her at editor@desertexposure.com or by cell phone at 575-443-4408.