December 24th, 2005

krazy koati

Well she got her daddy's car

The problem with the new ``high security'' driver's licenses is the state wants to pretend you can get one only if you prove you live in the state. This is a minor frustration for me since by any reasonable standard I really don't, but I insist on keeping my right to drive, so I'll carry on with the fiction. New Jersey came up with this scheme in which you have to provide six ``points''; a passport is worth four points; all manner of marriage and divorce papers are worth two points each, or nothing to those of us who've not gotten married; and things like your old driver's license are worth one point. They also take things like bank statements as proof that you exist, since how could you exist if you don't have a bank account?

As it happens, the Friday before Christmas is a great day to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, if one must, since there were fewer people there than I've ever seen. There was one ahead of line for me for a new license, and one other in the bureau at all, apart from staff. I had my points, thanks to my bank account, which uses a US address. In the end perhaps I wouldn't have had to bother, since the woman checking my credentials recognized my name (!) -- her pastor when she was growing up was my great-uncle, and she had good memories of him. She also made fun of my street address, because it's a slightly odd street name ... well, maybe it is, but it didn't seem that odd.

Thanks to the wonders of digital pictures, I got to re-do my picture. The first one I just looked straight ahead, but the camera was so far below -- it's not oriented for tall people -- that it got a daring look up my nostrils. The second time I could look at the floor, and thus get a picture of me looking at the camera. The new license is ... bleah, frankly. It includes my picture twice -- one large, one small -- and the Motor Vehicle Commission logo embossed four times, plus a gradient-fade bar, and the statehouse embedded in a New Jersey shape filter, and lenticular grating -- it just screams ``We finally got Photoshop!'' They'd probably have used a lens flare if they found the filter. I hope by the next time I have to renew they have a more dignified design.

Trivia: The notion of using a quote from the Bible for the Apollo 8 television broadcast came from Joe Laitin, spokesman for the Bureau of the Budget; his wife Christine specifically suggested Old Testament, and at that, the start of the first book. (Laitin was asked by Simon Bourgin, with the United States Information Agency, whom Frank Borman asked for help.) Source: Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman.

Currently Reading: Small Things Considered, Henry Petroski.