June 11th, 2008


Public Service Announcement

I hate sales call. Hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em. A few years back I put myself on the National Do Not Call list and it's worked for the most part (unfortunately, it doesn't weed out charities you gave $20 to six years ago and who continue to call every day since to ask you for more, nor does it weed out your own bank or telephone company when they want to sell you some new product or service).

Anyway, the telemarketers got upset with this, since just about everyone in the U.S. put themselves on the National Do Not Call list, and decided it was time to start hitting up cell phones instead. Unfortunately, rather than stopping them, the telephone companies agreed to release cell phone numbers to telemarketers.

To add insult to injury, due to the way cell phone billing operates, you will be charged for each telemarketing call you accidentally answer. That's right, the cell phone number you give to your family for emergencies only will ring one day, and you'll see a number you don't recognize and assume it must be a pay phone in the ER because something happened to grandpa...but no, you'll answer and it'll be some schmuck who can't pronounce your name correctly and wants to sell you a timeshare. Not only that, but they could be tying up the line while your family actually is trying to reach you because grandpa's in the hospital. And you'll be charged for the call.

But, luckily, there is a remedy. The National Do Not Call list is taking registration from your cell phones in preparation for the Great Telemarketer Onslaught of 2008.

Call the following number from your cell: 1-888-382-1222

It's very quick to set up -- I was done in less than a minute -- and it blocks your number from being used by telemarketers for 5 years. But remember, you have to call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You can't call from a different phone number.

You can also register on the Web at https://www.donotcall.gov/

Good luck and godspeed.

The End is Nigh

Nuclear war will begin...Thursday, June 12, or sooner, according to the latest prediction of self-proclaimed prophet Yisrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins, the founder of a religious sect in Abilene, Texas.

Hundreds of truck trailers have been loaded with food and water on the group’s 44-acre compound, in preparation for the coming war.

With the world ending tomorrow, I find myself torn as to what to do with the time I have left. I can't decide between an end of the world kill spree and an end of the world orgy. I suppose there's time to do both if I stay up all night, but then I wonder if that's enough. The possibilities are endless, even if the world clearly is not. Should I kick a puppy, just to see what it's like? Do heroin? Run around pinching bottoms? Break my years-long avoidance of the Shocklines message board and post, "You're a bunch of mouth-breathing morons and an embarrassment to the genre. THERE I SAID IT"? Call Jennifer Connelly and say, "Look, Jen, the world is ending tomorrow. If you want a piece of this, you have to act fast"? Call Cindy Crawford and say, "Connelly's coming over at seven, shall I pencil you in for ten?"

Alas, there is one slight, itty-bitty problem.

Unfortunately for Hawkins, it is not the first time he predicted the outbreak of nuclear war.

Most recently, Hawkins set Sept. 12, 2006 as the beginning of the end.

His followers produced an on-line video with a countdown to doomsday.

In Kenya, hundreds of his followers actually hid in basement bomb shelters and donned gas masks on the date.

They went home in humiliation when there was no war.

Oh my God, can you imagine how embarrassed I would be if I went on an end of the world kill spree and then the world didn't end? Talk about egg on my face! Or what if the world doesn't end and Jennifer Connelly and Cindy Crawford get all clingy and start throwing around questions like "Where is this relationship heading?" and "Why can't I keep some clothes in your closet?"

Hmmm, this bears further consideration. If the world doesn't end tomorrow, I'll know I made the right decision in holding off. If it does, I guess I'll be kicking myself in the afterlife over the missed opportunity of an end of the world orgy, which, now that I think about it, is totally what I would have chosen.

I suppose there's always next time.