sometimes “alias” ain’t no alias at all

Es­ti­mated reading time is 6 min­utes.

I LOGGED INTO my li­brary ac­count and in the Search field typed “alias.” I wanted to place a hold on the fourth and fifth sea­sons of the ABC tele­vi­sion se­ries Alias from ear­lier in this cen­tury, star­ring Jen­nifer Garner. Aside from the five DVDs for the se­ries and per­haps a few books about the show, I wasn’t ex­pecting a large number of en­tries under that word. Hah! There were more than 250 en­tries for ‘alias.’

But be­fore I con­tinue, first there is Alias the series.

Berni and I are Jen­nifer Garner fans—we’ve ac­tu­ally seen Butter (twice!) and rave about it to anyone who will listen! Or at least thought we were Jen­nifer Garner fans.

Then someone made Berni and me aware that had not seen Alias, an ABC tele­vi­sion se­ries in which Garner played a CIA agent for five sea­sons (2001-2006).

The se­ries had been a hit, and she had won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award and re­ceived four Emmy Award nom­i­na­tions. But as we didn’t “watch teevee” and only re­cently began binge-watching old se­ries on DVD, we weren’t hip to this show.


Alias Garner1

One of the best comic book movies

With the role of double-agent Sydney Bristow in Alias, Garner esta­b­lished her­self as an ac­tion star. She fol­lowed with more action-oriented movies: in 2003, she played Marvel comic book anti-heroine and as­sassin Elektra in Dare­devil (for­tu­nately for­gotten by most since).

In 2005, she reprised the role in Elektra, one of the very best comic book-based movies. Un­for­tu­nately, the critics and the ticket-buyers dis­agreed with me: the film was gen­er­ally panned and lost a small fortune.

She also played other types of roles in other types of movies; sev­eral were big hits and made her a fave with romantic-comedy fans and chick-flick afi­cionados (of which I am a card-carrying member). These included:

2004   13 Going On 30
2007   Juno
2009   Ghosts Of Girl­friends Past
Valen­tine’s Day

Mar­riage to Ben Af­fleck hap­pened in there somewhere.

With the mar­riage and the hits came count­less mag­a­zine covers and Jen­nifer Garner be­came a fix­ture at gro­cery store check-out lines, where count­less un­sus­pecting men fell in love with her while waiting to pay for their beer and bar­beque potato chips (among which I count my­self). 1

Su­per­stardom also hap­pened in there somewhere,

But this ar­ticle isn’t re­ally about Ms. Garner or Alias the tele­vi­sion se­ries. It’s about in­putting un­nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion into com­puter programs!


Alias Garner3

An alias by any other name

So a few months ago, we picked up on Alias and en­joyed the first three sea­sons. Jen­nifer plays the part with aplomb, she trained for the fight scenes, the scripts are rea­son­ably well-written and en­ter­taining, and she has an able sup­porting cast.

As for the title of the show, it fits: al­though many of us think of an alias as just an­other name that someone goes by, the de­f­i­n­i­tion of an alias is “a false or as­sumed iden­tity.” In Alias, Agent Bristow has many aliases, and of course, she is often drop-dead gor­geous and sexy as hell in those guises.

So I just went to the King County Li­brary Sys­tem’s web­site to order the final two sea­sons of Alias. I typed in “alias” and there 252 list­ings! This seemed like a hel­lu­valot of list­ings of books and movies for that one word, so I scrolled down a page or two and to see what gives.

Lo and be­hold, I found that any­thing and every­thing to do with Bob Dylan was listed there! If you’re a Dy­lanad­dict, you should know by now where I am heading with this article . . .


Alias_Dylan_still copy

It’s getting dark, too dark to see

This brief ar­ticle is a no­tice on how (prob­ably) poorly thought out pa­ra­me­ters for a li­brary cat­a­loging system and (prob­ably) one con­trib­utor to the list­ings in that cat­alog ap­proached his work with a zeal whose ex­ces­sive­ness might be ad­mired and re­warded in a game of Trivial Pur­suit, but lends to re­dun­dancy and con­fu­sion to count­less li­brary users.

But not me.

Nos­sir­reebob, I knew why Alias the tele­vi­sion se­ries and Alias the novel (Brian Michael Bendis) were fol­lowed by Bob Dy­lan’s Greatest Hits and The Free­wheelin’ Bob Dylan and 200+ other al­bums and books re­lating in some way shape or form to the former Robert Zim­mer­man’s most fa­mous alias.

It was be­cause of an­other Dylan alias that re­ally ain’t no alias at all, and should not have been there ex­cept for the afore­men­tioned zeal of the Dylan fa­natic, who added just a wee bit too much in­for­ma­tion into the KCLS database.


Alias Dylan Knockin PS

That long black cloud is comin’ down

In 1973, then hot-as-a-smoking-pistol Sam Peck­inpah di­rected Pat Gar­rett And Billy The Kid, an­other “great Western” that wasn’t so great. Star­ring vet­eran James Coburn as Gar­rett and new­comer Kris Kristof­ferson as Billy, it was also the film début of Bob Dylan. 2

In re­tire­ment from making mean­ingful music, Dylan tried his hand at acting. His per­for­mance as an actor in this movie was on par with his per­for­mance as a song­writer, mu­si­cian, and singer on his re­cent al­bums: lack­luster. 3

Em­i­nently forgettable.

Bor­der­line embarrassing.

Dylan based his char­acter on his ‘new,’ post-rock & roll Bob Dylan per­sona: coun­tri­fied, re­served, blurry around the edges.

And his char­acter didn’t have a real name, just an alias.

And that alias was . . .


And that’s why there are more than 200 list­ings about Bob Dylan in the KCLS cat­alog under alias. 4


Alias Garner redhead 1500Alias Garner header 1

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page was cropped from the first photo within the text of the ar­ticle (above).



1   Ben Af­fleck is one of those ac­tors that critics and movie buffs who think they’re rilly cool love to put down—like one of my all-time per­sonal fav­er­aves, Tom Cruise. And other per­sonal fav­erave Mel Gibson. And per­sonal fav­er­avest Kevin Costner. It must be tough being rilly cool and having to dis­like all the re­mark­able moves made by these men.

2   Looking this movie up in Wikipedia al­lowed me to find one of the count­less factoids—and by count­less I mean too many for any mere human to count in a life­time or ten—that are so often in­cluded in Wikipedia. These fac­toids are often state­ments of “fact” of a per­sonal na­ture that can never be ver­i­fied and seem in­tended to make the sub­ject look stupid.

Here’s what Wikipedia says in Pat Gar­rett And Billy The Kid: “Kristof­ferson also brought Bob Dylan into the film, ini­tially hired to write the title song. Dylan even­tu­ally wrote the score and played the small role of Alias. Peck­inpah had never heard of Dylan before.”

For those readers who did not grow up in the ’60s and ’70s, the like­li­hood that ANYONE in ANY artistic field ANYWHERE in the West­ern­ized world could have lived through the second half of the ’60s and the first few years of the ’70s and NOT have heard of Bob Dylan is nigh on im­pos­sible to con­ceive. Ex­cept on web­sites where cred­u­lous con­trib­u­tors con­tin­u­ally create con­fu­sion with their use­less and point­less knowl­edge (and my ad­vice is to not let the boys in).

3   I am re­fer­ring to the music in gen­eral that Bob made in his in­ter­lude be­tween being the Voice of His Gen­er­a­tion (1963-1968) and the Second Greatest Come­back in Rock & Roll His­tory (1974-1979). These in­clude the al­bums Nashville Sky­line (1969), Self-Portrait and New Morning (1970), Greatest Hits Vol. II (1971), and Pat Gar­rett And Billy The Kid and Dylan (1973).

4   Bob Dylan was a pro­fes­sional alias for Robert Zim­merman until Au­gust 1962, when the latter legally be­came the former. Dylan used aliases throughout his ca­reer to take gigs or do fa­vors and not get into trouble with Co­lumbia Records. Three Dylan record­ings cred­ited to Blind Boy Grunt ap­peared on the 1963 album Broad­side Bal­lads Volume 1 for Broad­side mag­a­zine (Broadside/Folkway Records). Using the pseu­donym Bob Landy, Dylan sat in as a piano player on the 1964 album The Blues Project for Elektra. Dylan played har­monica as Tedham Porter­house on Ram­blin’ Jack El­liott’s self-titled album on Van­guard in 1964.


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