June 23, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:07 pm

What do you think this list is?

Stars and Stripes Forever
Washington Post
Soap Bubble
Horse power
Little Bear
Flower viewing
Go on a visit
Song of baby
Dream Land
Carlos Latin
Rock’n Roll
Rock Waltz
Salsa Marimba
Tonky Rock

No, it is not the song list from a Slim Whitman disc. Nor is it a dance recital program from Miss Sally’s School of Dance.

What we have here is the list of “Ringer Types” that I could choose from for my new cell phone. I had thought that the “chimey” thing that sounded like an ice cream truck playing the theme from the “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” show when I fire up the phone was an anomaly, and that I could find a “ringer” that sounded like a telephone. You know what I mean? I wanted something that sounded like, well, … a bell.

Actually, given the damage that I managed to do to my hearing by playing drums in a loud rock and roll band for decades (my left ear is worse, as that’s where the monitor speaker — the one that lets you hear the vocals — was always placed), I really wanted something that sounded like a killer bell or maybe even a fire alarm. “Ding, ding, ding,” or “Brrrrrrring, brrrrrrring, brrrrrrrrring.” In a crowded saloon, there is no way that Jimbo is going to hear a dainty version of the “Polonaise.”

In the spirit of candor, I must admit that I left five choices off the above list. They are:

Bell 1
Bell 2
Bell 3
Bell 4
Bell 5

These choices are at the end of the list. So, after listening to the twenty-five bizarre “ringers,” I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking, “Yes! Bells!” Well, none of these babies sounds anything like “Ding, ding” or “Brrrring, brrrrring.” They are little chimey ditties the notes of which seem to be plucked almost randomly from the chromatic scale.

Somewhere in the mondo manual I recall seeing how one can “download” ringer types. To that I say, “Are you shitting me?” Download a farookin’ bell for a phone? It took me a week of hair-hurting aggravation just to put a button on this blog. I could see myself screwing up Mr. Computer and Mr. Cell Phone by trying to download a ringer.

I’m afraid that my age is showing. Hell, I remember when you were considered pretty hip to have one, black, rotary dial phone in the house and when there was no such thing as area codes. Phone numbers began with the location of one’s residence, such as, Essex (for Essex County), and the number would look like “ES-3-4567.”

Hell, I can even recall my grandmother having a “party line,” a phone line that was shared by several households. You had to know “your ring,” (for example, two shorts and a long, all controlled by – get this – a telephone operator) to know that the call was for you and not for the Smith’s down the road. If you were a louse, you could eavesdrop on the Smiths’ calls, but that was streng verboten in my grandmother’s house.

So, now I can actually have my phone play a “Mr. Softee” version of “Stars and Stripes Forever.” How very thrilling.

I chose Bell Number 3, even though it sounds more like an ice cream truck on crack driving by at seventy miles per hour than it does a farookin’ bell.

Time marches on, I suppose.

BRRRRINNNNNNG……….Hello? … *sigh*

June 22, 2004

Cousin Jack.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:30 pm

I was saddened to read that Cousin Jack (we really are cousins) of Jack Bog’s Blog will be closing up shop on July 6th in order to spend more time concentrating on Life 101. As many of you know, Jack was the one who convinced me to take the plunge into the Blogosphere, and for that I will be forever grateful. Cousin Jack was the one in the family who, from the beginning, was scary smart, and he still is. However, if you are familiar with him, his work, or his writings, you didn’t need me to tell you that.

After completing college in New Jersey and becoming an instant success in the newspaper business, Jack headed west to Stanford Law School, and he made a wonderful life out there for himself. He gave up a lucrative partnership in a large, fancy schmancy law firm to become a law professor, where he is well respected and extremely popular among his students. I’m not even a little bit surprised about that, for Jack has a 14 carat gold sense of humor and a wit that cuts like a laser.

I hope he reconsiders, but if he does pack it in, I’m sure he will kick ass and take names at whatever he decides to do next for fun. In any event, he will always be welcome here to say whatever tickles his fancy.

LeeAnn’s Menagerie.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:58 pm

Who else but the Cheesemistress of Chaos would have owned a dog named ToyToy, “who was all boyboy,” and a paraplegic guinea pig named “Quatro?”

Ya gotta love it.

June 21, 2004

New Cell Phone…Oy!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:50 pm

I stopped by the Verizon Wireless store today, because my cell phone was not charging. Over the past several weeks, it had become a “jiggle-the-wire” kind of thing, which always spells trouble, and always suggests either a phone problem or a charger problem. Jiggling wasn’t working any more. It was, therefore. time. In my heart of hearts, I knew that I would end up being gang raped by Verizon folks with a new phone, but there was still hope, no?

When I explained my problem to the young lady behind the counter, she directed me to the “Technical Support Desk.” Fortunately, I had beaten the crowds, and the technical support fellow took care of me right away. He plugged my charger into an outlet and my phone into the charger, and then pushed a bunch of buttons.

“There is something wrong with the charging port,” he said. “What is your cell phone number?” I gave it to him, and he clickety-clacked away on his terminal. “What are the last four digits of your social security number?” I gave him that information as well, wondering whether there are people out there masquerading as cell phone owners and pulling the “Broken Charging Port Scam” and wondering exactly how that would work.

He looked at his screen for a moment, and then looked up and said, “You have a one hundred dollar credit” (apparently from renewing my last contract, or some such thing), and he said, “I suggest that you get a new phone. It’s not worth getting this one fixed.”

“How much would it cost to fix this one,” I asked with the naiveté of a ten year old.

“Fifty-three dollars, plus tax,” was the answer.

“OK, I’ll look,” I said, knowing that my fate had been sealed.

I went back to the sales folks, wondering whether Technical Service Guy had already shot them an instant message, or otherwise sent them the secret signal indicating that he had sent another sorry ass their way.

Then, I was confronted with a dizzying array of cell phones. Here’s the thing. Who really does any advance shopping for a cell phone? I certainly do not. To me, cell phones are somewhat akin to shoelaces. I only think about them when they break and I need to replace them. I knew right away that I needed help.

The very gracious sales lady answered the call. After I explained that I didn’t need text this or that, I didn’t want to take pictures with the thing, and “no,” I won’t be needing the one with the electric asswipes, she showed me a few “basic phones.” I wanted one that made and received phone calls and that stored some phone numbers.

Five minutes later, I had selected a tiny model (small is good, because I wear it while walking in the mornings) with a screen in brilliant color and numbers on the display that I will be able to read after a couple cocktails. It seemed just about right. I thought I was finished.

“Would you like the accessory pack, sir? Your credit does not apply to the rebate or to accessories.” I figure she must practice saying that real fast, because, before I could say, “Rebate? Accessory pack? What’s in the accessory pack?” she said, “Leather case, car charger and a headset.” She was definitely good, because I lamely shook my head and said, “sure.”

I am now the proud owner of a little, tiny, living-color cell phone, an “accessory pack,” and an instruction manual, only slightly less thick than the local phone directory.

So, I will spend the balance of this evening, and God knows how much time tomorrow, wading through the manual trying to figure out how to make and receive phone calls and change the ringer so that it sounds more like a farookin’ phone than a Mr. Softee truck.

Oh, yeah. If I say this as fast as the lady did, maybe it will make sense. I actually paid nothing for the phone (after I do all the shit necessary to get my rebate), and I only paid $50.00 for the “accessory pack,” which I figure is really worth about ten bucks.

It’s still better than getting the old one fixed for $53…… I think.

Humor me.

June 20, 2004

To the Fathers…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:40 am

I spent yesterday celebrating Father’s Day a day early with TJ and her husband, chilling out, having cocktails, eating, and having lots of laughs.

Today, I’ll spend some quiet time thinking about my dad, who didn’t have a chance to finish high school, but who was wise beyond measure, who worked hard his entire life, who could sing beautifully and play a guitar and who put a guitar in my hands when I was a little boy and insisted that I sing as well, who patiently ran his ass off holding on to the seat of a two-wheeler as I took forever to learn how to ride, who always referred to me as “son,” who taught me the importance of knowing history, who never once hit me and who only had to shake his head “no” for me to know that I was screwing up, who always, always stressed the importance of education, who was the best grandfather to my daughter that a little girl could ever want, who became the person I would consult about important issues once I became an adult, who loved a good story, and who passed away ten years ago.

I miss him every day.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

June 19, 2004

Dax Montana.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:26 pm

Did Dax Montana close up shop? I have not been able to access his site for a while now.

Anyone having the same problem?

Bi-Lingual, Ay?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:43 pm

I do believe that Topdawg is fluent in both languages that appear here.

Thanks to my friend Brian, the Air Force Vet.

June 18, 2004

Paul M. Johnson – Murdered.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:55 pm

My grief for his family is exceeded only by my hatred of the Islamic fundamentalist pigs who committed this act and those who support them.

Nothing more from me tonight.

Skunked and Zonked.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:42 am

I could not get to the web last night. Perhaps it had something to do with a pretty hairy thunderstorm that stuck around here for a while. Then again, for all I know it could have been flying monkeys or just some transient cyber-turd that found its way to my computer.

So, being essentially computerless, I fired up HBO and started to watch “Bruce Almighty,” starring Jim Carrey. Until then, I hadn’t realized that it is possible to be knocked unconscious by stupidity.

Memo to Jim Carrey: Consider France.

June 16, 2004

Listen Up!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:43 pm

Shoe Fly.jpg

Sgt. Hook, who is presently serving in Afghanistan, has organized “Operation Shoe Fly,” the goal of which is to obtain donations of shoes/sneakers for the children of Afghanistan. The details of the program are here and here, and helpful mailing instructions can be found here.

I suspect that, if you have children, you have a few pairs of like-new, but too-small shoes gathering dust in a closet. If you are grandparents, ask your kids to check their closets. Or, if you can spare a couple bucks, the next time you find yourself in Wal-Mart or Target thinking about buying a CD, why not spring for a pair of kids’ sneakers instead. “Operation Shoe Fly” will put those shoes to good use.

As the Nike folks say, “Just do it.”

Special note to the Usual Suspects: Waddya say?

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