MARTY RUSSELL: Not just for cold, flu season any more



Unless you’re a 400-pound 19-year-old sitting on your bed with the drapes closed on your computer 24/7 or President-elect Donald Trump, you know that the U.S. intelligence community (both of them and their wives) have definitive proof that Russia was behind the computer hacking attacks on the Democrats in the last election in an attempt to help Trump win the election.

Trump, of course, continues to deny this and wants us to believe someone else was behind the data thefts like China or illegal aliens from Mars. Of course he also wants us to believe Meryl Streep is overrated as an actress and “Hamilton” as a musical.

The rest of us know that crackers did indeed influence the outcome of the election. That’s right, crackers, defined by Webster’s as, “a poor, usu. Southern white – used disparagingly.” Even Trump can’t deny that, although he probably would just to disagree with whoever said it. But cracker has another definition. In computer and security parlance a cracker is what is referred to as a “black hat hacker,” someone who infiltrates a computer system then sells the fix back to the owner for a healthy reward.

So I think we can rule out crackers supporting Trump in the election as the culprits in the hacking of the Democrats’ computers. They’re only allowed to use crayons. And whoever was responsible for the break-in wasn’t doing it for profit but for political advantage.

Hacking as a term meant to denote someone who breaches the security of a computer system to steal information or test the effectiveness of that security first came into use in the mid-1970s with something called, “The Jargon File,” a compendium of computer terminology compiled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It found its way into popular use in the 1980s with the publication of “The Hacker’s Dictionary,” a humorous collection of computer terms based on “The Jargon File.”

But, of course, hacking has been around a lot longer than that. My dictionary lists five different entries for the word with each entry containing multiple meanings. The earliest, of course, is simply to cut something or to tolerate something, as in, “I hacked and hacked at the pole supporting the inauguration platform but it wouldn’t break. Finally I couldn’t hack it anymore.”

Writers, like myself, can be referred to as “hacks,” defined as “working for hire esp. with loose or easy professional standards.” That’s me.

Trump would probably refer to “Hamilton” as a hack production, meaning “to make trite and commonplace by frequent and indiscriminate use.”

Then, of course, there’s that hacking cough that so many of us get this time of the year.

Put them together and you’d get something like this, “I hacked into the DNC computers despite a hacking cough I could barely hack anymore and, despite hacking off a finger in the process all I discovered was some hack material about something called ‘real issues,’ like foreign hacking.”

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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