Category Archives: Distracted Driving

Dodging Fate

Let it be stated from the beginning that I feel bad for the driver and people in the Escalade and I’m very glad that it looked like no one was injured.

Driving out to the hangar in Camarillo today, we weren’t in “stop and go” traffic. It was more like a hyperactive variant, something like “skid to a halt and peel out.”

Where your typical “stop and go” traffic has you stopping for several seconds to a minute or so, then speeding up to maybe a crawl or just above for a couple hundred feet (at best) before slowly stopping again, we were in a cycle of suddenly slamming on the brakes for no apparent reason, waiting a few seconds, then accelerating back up to “maximum freeway speed” for a mile or two, only to slam on the brakes again.

After the first time this happened, I had put a couple of extra car lengths between myself and the car in front of me. This helped a lot when it happened the second time, but I was quite alarmed to see the person driving behind me not only tailgating, but texting while driving. When we hit the brakes the second time, I was quite sure that the texting asshole in the little blue sports car was going to spread me all over the road.

Somehow he didn’t, missing me by about the amount of the layer of dirt that I had removed going through the car wash last week. Since I had no desire to be anywhere near this clown, when traffic sped up again, I took my sweet time about it and left a HUGE gap between me and the SUV in front of me. Predictably, the little blue clown car took the first opportunity to cut around me on the right (we were in the fast lane) and then cut back in front of me closely enough to make me brake in order to avoid getting clipped by him.

Of course, just as he went past me back into the fast lane, traffic shut down again and he skidded to a halt behind the SUV, barely stopping. And apparently still texting, doing everything possible except driving his car with any sort of sanity or responsibility.

We all took off again and when the brakes lights all suddenly came on again – his didn’t.

Luckily we had only sped up to about 35 or 40 and he was tailgating closely enough so that when the Escalade started breaking, it didn’t have much time to slow down before he smashed into the back of it. Their relative velocity was low enough so it didn’t even look like any of the air bags had deployed.

As I was stopping behind them (and wondering if I was now stuck with the lane ahead of me blocked) they both swung over onto the center divider, leaving me clear to go. Which I did.

As I said, I feel bad for the driver and people in the Escalade and I’m very glad that it looked like no one was injured. As for the texting clown in the little blue sports car, well, Karma’s a bitch.

As I crawled past through the glass from the busted out headlights and tail lights, it looked like the little blue sports car’s front end was chewed up pretty well. The back end of the Escalade had some damage to the rear bumper, but the Escalade was high enough (and big enough) while the little blue sports car was low enough (and small enough) so I doubt the Escalade even had any damage to the rear lift gate.

On the other hand, if the texting clown had still been behind me…

Hissy’s small and zippy, with an emphasis on small. If I had stopped quickly right behind the Escalade and then gotten rear-ended by the sports car, I would have been squished like a bug in between them. It probably wouldn’t have been enough to cause serious injuries, but it almost certainly would have totaled my little car that’s less than a year old and hasn’t even had its first oil change yet.

This brain dead dude was, as they say, “an accident looking for a place to happen.” I’m just as glad to see it happen in front of me and to someone else where minimal damage was caused to innocent bystanders.

Some days it’s better to be lucky than good.



Filed under Distracted Driving, Freakin' Idiots!, Los Angeles

Go, Pokemon, Go! (And Don’t Come Back!)

It’s been a bit disturbing for the last week or so to see more and more people I follow and talk to on Twitter and Facebook succumbing to this latest craze.

I understand and expect many science fiction and fantasy fans to be jumping on the Pokemon Go bandwagon. Hell, I would be amazed if many of them weren’t first adopters or even beta testers. No worries, it goes with the territory.

I’m not surprised to see many of that generation (including my kids) embracing it enthusiastically. They grew up with Pokemon, they’ve played the games on one gaming platform after another from teeny-tiny monochrome LCD screens all the way up to Retina display supercomputers that you can carry in your pockets.

But the number of well respected scientists, writers, and researchers that are out there trying to “catch them all” caught me off guard. Aren’t these folks supposed to be out there solving the mysteries of the universe 24/7 and tweeting about it so that I can hover in their shadow? Isn’t that the job description?

Instead, I find that my friends from SF&F fandom are all chasing Pokemon. Younger people I follow (kids, nephews, nieces, etc) are all chasing Pokemon. And now a high percentage of my NASA, NASA Social, flying, astronomy, space exploration peeps and tweeps are all chasing Pokemon.

Thank god I don’t follow any celebrities or sports figures. I can only imagine what’s going on over in that sector.

This may be a classic “Get off my lawn!” moment for me. But augmented reality has been an intriguing possibility for years and I’ve been waiting for it to get into the mass markets. Where’s the app where you can turn on your phone’s camera in an unfamiliar city and have it show you where the nearest subway is or overlay on the picture directions to a restaurant you’ve picked? Where’s the app where you can go house or apartment hunting and have your phone tie into Zillow and show you the price and amenities for all the homes in a neighborhood, while also point out which direction and how far it is to the nearest park or school? Where’s the app where you can point your phone at a sign in a foreign city and have it translated into English for you?

Oh, right, that last one exists. WordLens will translate signs in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian. On the fly, in real time, you can take something like this:


(It’s what I had sitting on the desk – just go with it)

…into this:

img_9237 img_9236

Nope, instead we’re getting the teeming masses who are (we hope) otherwise sane and rational critters out wandering about aimlessly, staring intently at their phones.

Staring intently and wandering about as they walk into the street, off of piers, into light posts, and so on. It’s madness.

Also, watch out for the Laws of Unintended Consequences. There are some nice stories out there with Marines catching burglars while playing, people getting outside and getting some exercise for the first time in ages, and people meeting people they otherwise never would have met and finding out that they’re just, you know, people. There are also stories of muggers realizing that the Pokemon gyms and hot spots are perfectly good places to find people with expensive phones who are paying absolutely no attention to their surroundings.

Then there’s the whole Westboro Baptist Church thing. Suffice it say that anything that royally pisses off those assholes is a good thing in my book.

I guess in the end, I just don’t get it. I would love to have a HoloDeck from the Enterprise, but this seems a bit lame.

So far as my personal unintended consequences go, I was briefly saddened while reading about people coming out of their houses for the first time in ages. I missed the window of opportunity to buy stock in companies making sunblock and sunglasses. It’s okay – I realized that there was still time to invest in companies that make aloe gel and Ben Gay.




Filed under Computers, Distracted Driving, Fandom, Paul

Just Like In High School Band, Right?

Anyone else play in the high school band, probably as 3rd or 4th chair something? It was a bit like being the kid in right field in baseball, you could play well enough to get by, but really, you knew this wasn’t where your career was headed. The kids in 1st chair were the ones who practiced twice as much as they needed to (and twenty times more than you did – do the math) because they were going to go to march in the Rose Parade and meet John Davidson and go on to a career as a professional musician. (Hi, Cathy!)

But if you got interested enough, or if you wanted to impress that cute girl who just moved up to 2nd chair clarinet (or the guy who just moved up to 2nd chair trombone, I’m not here to judge) and you started to practice, then you could try to move up. You could challenge the 2nd chair french horn! It’s like “racing for pinks” in a way, a head to head audition with the music teacher to see who got the higher chair, the harder music, and the infinitesimally larger amount of glory and admiration.

With that in mind…

Coming home very late from the CAF hangar tonight (a different story) I was coming up the Canejo Grade on the 101 Freeway. It’s about four miles long, a 7% grade, four lanes, usually with the right two lanes clogged with very, very slow semis, and the left two lanes clogged by people with either no gas pedal or no engine to handle that kind of a climb. In between dart the folks with big engines and little patience.

Tonight it was late and traffic was light so I was in my new little Honda Fit zooming up the hill light a fighter pilot climbing toward the moon. I was in the #1 (fast) lane, pretty much all alone, when I came up behind another car going much slower, considerably less than the 65 mph speed limit. I cut over into the #2 lane and zipped right on by, my little four-cylinder engine screaming (well, okay, buzzing) along at about 4,000 RPM.

The car I was passing was a brand new Corvette. The one that’s gorgeous and can do about 120 mph in third gear, and goes from zero to “holy shit!” in about five seconds. And I was screaming (buzzing) past him like he was standing still!

Isn’t that the same as a 3rd chair French horn (my Fit) challenging and stomping on a 1st chair (the Corvette) and taking the better seat away? Does that mean that he has to take my car and I get to take his, since we’re obviously each better suited to the other vehicle? Are we back to the “trading pinks” analogy, but this time in real life on the Canejo Grade?

A guy can fantasize, can’t he?

Evidence suggests that the guy in the Corvette was going so slow because he was distracted, texting or something on his phone. Shortly after I went by him he seemed to have realized what had happened and the last I saw of him he was heading over the top of the hill at speeds my Fit couldn’t hit if you pushed it off a cliff.

But for a moment there, I and my little four-cylinder glorified roller skate were the kings of the Canejo Grade!!

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Filed under Distracted Driving, Music

A Near Miss Of Themes

First, there were the Maserati.

What is the plural of “Maserati” anyway? Maserati or Maseratis? Maybe “Maserati” already IS the plural of “Maseratum.” Isn’t Italian sort of Latin-like? Latin-adjacent?

Sorry, I may have wandered there…

First, there were the Maserati.

Then there was the new car.

Tonight those themes nearly met. Literally.

The good news is that the new car has excellent brakes. I know the “Car & Driver” review thought that they were only good, not great, but in a pinch they worked great for me.

It was the white Maserati, the one that I see parking in the garage at work. It was late, dark, and rainy. I was heading out of the parking garage and turning right.

I guess the Maserati pilot didn’t figure that there would be anyone leaving the garage at that point, so rather than staying in his lane until he was next to the garage entrance and then doing a 90° right turn, he headed on a straight line from somewhere down the block toward the garage entrance. That’s a route that takes him straight through the opposing lane of traffic where anyone (like me) is trying to leave. I don’t know why he was driving way too fast on a narrow, wet side road. Because he could, perhaps.

My view of anyone driving like a freaking idiot the wrong way on the wrong side of the road is blocked by the loading dock there, so I was surprised when I pulled out and saw the Maserati bearing down on me at about 0.5c. (What can I tell you, he looked blue-shifted to me. Maybe it was the neon from the nightclub across the street, maybe it was a relativistic effect, maybe a bit of both.)

I wasn’t even out into the street yet, just nosing out across the sidewalk into the street, and I had nowhere to go and no time to do it in. Fortunately I had only moved about ten feet from the garage exit gate, so I wasn’t going fast. Nonetheless, I stomped hard on the brakes, getting a very satisfying inertial lunge forward.

It’s a good thing that Maserati didn’t have an extra layer of paint or clear coat as it flew past my front end and left headlight toward the garage entrance. I think the only thing that kept us apart was the light pressure from my headlights on his left side doors, pushing us apart by a fraction of an angstrom.

Via con Dios – moron!



Filed under Distracted Driving, Freakin' Idiots!

Lousy Data (Again) & SigAlert (On The) 101

I ranted a while back about how we’re getting more and more dependent on apps and other information services with the assumption that we’re getting accurate data, when in fact that may not be true and you’ll find out when your GPS tells you to drive off the cliff in Monterey when you think it’s finding an address in San Francisco.

In that particular case I was showing how weather data from numerous apps (advertised as highly reliable and something you can’t live without) actually was blatantly inaccurate. To wit, multiple apps showing no rain within twenty or thirty miles while in fact it’s raining cats and dogs outside.

I had often seen a similar problem with another app and data set, but didn’t have the documentation I needed to write about it. Today, unfortunately, I got a really extreme example of that data issue.

To get from our house in the west San Fernando Valley out to the CAF hangar in Camarillo, the fastest, most direct, and most obvious route is out the 101 Freeway through Agoura and Thousand Oaks. If that route is blocked and you know it, you can go up to the 118 Freeway through Simi Valley, or you can swing down to the coast and go up the scenic but slow Pacific Coast Highway. If it’s blocked and you’re already in it or drive into it blindly, you are screwed. Maybe, maybe you can bail off onto the surface streets at some points, but at others you’re just up the creek.

I was headed out this morning, just coming through the canyons out of Calabasas, getting out into the flats leading into Agoura, when we came to a dead halt very quickly. There’s no hope of getting off the freeway to look for an alternative at that point. All four lanes stop, and stay stopped. It was somewhere between 8:25 and 8:30.

File Nov 21, 16 16 08 small

Zero miles per hour, lots of cars all around. And yes, my fifteen year old van does have 187,000+ miles on it.

After a couple of minutes, I realized that: a) I was stuck and up that proverbial creek, and; b) this would be a good chance to test my longstanding gripe about the timeliness and accuracy of the SigAlert data.

File Nov 21, 16 15 11

Image: SigAlert app for iPhone

For those not from California, a “SigAlert” is an unplanned blockage of one or more freeway lanes for thirty minutes or longer. It started way back in 1955 and is named for a local radio guy, Loyd Sigmon. Sigmon came up with the idea of an alert system in which traffic emergency information would be delivered to all radio and television outlets immediately. The technology has developed quite a bit over the years, naturally, but the term stuck.

Fine, I was stuck in a SigAlert, that was obvious pretty quickly. But as of 8:34, showing data from 8:31, the app shows everything green, wide open traffic, despite seeing this outside my windshield for almost ten minutes.

File Nov 21, 16 16 35 small

Oh, there goes a fire truck. We had already had two or three police cars go by at this point. There was another one right behind this one. Then one of the big hook-and-ladders went by down the center divider. Then the ambulances started going by.

That’s never a good sign.

File Nov 21, 16 17 43

Image: SigAlert app for iPhone

It’s now almost fifteen minutes since we stopped, and the SigAlert app is still showing all green, “maximum freeway speed” (a semi-official euphemism for “everyone’s doing 70 to 75 in a 65 mph zone”), no problems!

But now I notice the icon for a freeway camera up ahead. What does it show?

File Nov 21, 16 18 09 small

Image: SigAlert app for iPhone

Well, THERE‘s your problem! That’s looking right back at us, I’m stuck in the traffic on the left side coming at the camera, just in that first curve you see. You can see the traffic on the opposite side backing up quickly from “lookie-loos,” or “spectator slowing” if you want to be official.

The camera images seem to update every ten to fifteen seconds if you keep refreshing the image, and it looks like the data is much, much more current. It may or may not be actually live, but the map is obvious nonsense.

File Nov 21, 16 18 54

Image: SigAlert app for iPhone

Finally at 8:46, using data from 8:43, over fifteen minutes late, the app starts to show some slowing in the area. No sign that there’s an incident or accident, and no details on what might be going on.

File Nov 21, 16 19 11 small

Image: SigAlert app for iPhone

Even though there’s no red diamond icon on the map yet, if you go hunting for details there is a partially correct description of the problem. The accident happened more like 8:21, not 8:41, it wasn’t just the fast lane blocked but all four lanes, and traffic wasn’t just backed up at the site, it was gridlocked for more than five miles at this point.

But, hey, it’s a start?

File Nov 21, 16 20 08 small

Image: SigAlert app for iPhone

Someone at CalTrans (which operates the remote cameras) obviously is aware of the problem since they’ve zoomed in on it. Yep, we’re screwed.

You’ll also notice that there’s significantly less traffic on the opposite side of the freeway as well. They were in the process of closing down the four lanes south/east bound with just the last handful of cars getting through in that direction.

File Nov 21, 16 27 30 small

Meanwhile, back in the gridlock, it’s been over twenty minutes and no one’s hoping that they’ll clear the lanes and getting us out of here quickly. Engines are off, folks are wandering along the center divider, climbing up onto the embankments on the right side of the freeway to see what’s going on, and so on. A barefoot, shirtless guy was cruising between the lanes of cars on his skateboard.

Ah, California!

There had been a brief movement when a handful of freakin’ idiots drove off onto the right shoulder thinking they could drive by the whole mess that way, or get off at the offramp. But the offramp was also blocked by the accident, so all they did is block the shoulder so that the tow trucks, fire trucks, police, and ambulances trying to use the shoulder to get to the accident got gridlocked in the backup as well.

Well played, morons!

You’ll also note that by this time, in the picture shown, the lanes heading the opposite way were not completely empty. This was because they were bringing in a LifeFlight helicopter to evacuate some of the accident casualties. Being out at Camarillo Airport all the time, where the Ventura County helicopters are based near our hangars, I see these helicopters taking off and landing all the time. (Not that I’m jaded, it’s still cool to watch every time!) I’m guessing for about 99% of those stuck in traffic, it was a rare and unusual sight.

Thousands of cell phones were recording the helicopter! People standing on top of their cars, standing up through sun roofs, standing on the door frames… Aside from the fact that we were stuck and missing meetings and birthdays and weddings and late for work and getting home from work and a thousand other problems and inconveniences, it was pretty neat!

File Nov 21, 16 32 58 small

Behind me didn’t look any better than in front of me.

File Nov 21, 16 37 35

Image: SigAlert app for iPhone

Over forty minutes after the accident, the SigAlert app still isn’t accurate. The red, severe congestion area was at least twice that long according to the traffic reports on the radio, and “downstream” of the accident there wasn’t any traffic at all – every single lane was still blocked!

File Nov 21, 16 38 12 smallSkateboarding Guy came by again. Large groups of people were congregating in the center divider, I’m guessing because they could see the accident better, trying to get a clue about when they were going to open up the lanes again.

A CHP motorcycle cop rolled by, yelling at everyone to get back in their cars, really PO’d at people who didn’t hustle when he said to, yelling that it was for our safety. Really? Keeping us safe from what? We hadn’t moved in over an hour! The only danger was Skateboarding Guy.

Shown above is Golfing Guy. From what he’s wearing I’m thinking he was late for a tee time. About every five minutes he got out and took a few practice swings in between the cars. Meanwhile, after the helicopter took off, the opposing lanes opened up. It was a bit disturbing how many of them were honking at us and taunting because they could go and we were still stuck. Bastards!

At 9:39, about 1:15 after we first got stopped, all lanes opened up. Everyone sprinted for their cars and got the engines going, except for the old pickup truck in the lane next to me. As I drove off, its starter was grinding away and finally the folks stuck behind him had found their limit.

Lessons learned? Just as you can’t accurately rely on most weather apps to give you up to the minute, geographically accurate and timely information, it looks like you can’t count on the SigAlert app either. At all. The only part that worked was the freeway cameras, but you don’t check those unless you’re stuck already, and the accident may occur someplace where there aren’t any cameras.

And always carry a good book in the car. Just in case.

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Filed under Distracted Driving, Los Angeles, Photography, Video

Juicy Chunks O’ Wisdom For Tuesday, June 9th

‘Cause I read the comments, that’s why.

  • The dog survived her day and night alone with me.
  • Saw a huge accident on the other side of the freeway when I was heading home from the hangar. Many fire trucks, cops, and ambulances, three and a half of the four lanes blocked, traffic backed up for ten miles. Big surprise, given that we’ve gotten rain (so, so, SO weird for SoCal) from the remains of Hurricane Blanca after it pummeled Cabo San Lucas. On the other hand, our side of the freeway was cruising right along at 65+ up until some freakin’ moron decided to slow down to 5 mph in the #2 lane so that he could watch the carnage. That’s a special kind of freakin’ stupid!
  • Of course you’ve seen the first full trailer for “The Astronaut.” Of course. It’s okay, go watch it again. (Watch it in Hi-Def. On a big screen. With the sound turned waaaay up.)
  • The third best thing about how Jessie deals with the absence of The Long-Suffering Wife is the way her ears perk up and she snaps her head around to look at the front door with every creak of the house or sound from the street. When she’s here along with The Long-Suffering Wife and I come home, I’m sometimes here for five or ten minutes before she wakes up enough to notice that I’ve arrived.
  • While you’re waiting for “The Astronaut” to come out, go pick up a copy of the new, remastered, extended, director’s cut, Blu-ray version of “1776.” It’s a masterpiece, I say! You will cheer every word, every letter!
  • The second best thing about how Jessie deals with the absence of The Long-Suffering Wife is the the way she uses gas as a weapon when she wants to go to bed and I’m not ready yet. She lays next to the desk and farts and farts and farts. The Syrian army could learn a lesson from her. “Just a dog being a dog,” you say? Right, sure. So how do you explain the big smile on her face and the way she keeps glancing up at me after each “event”?
  • Did everyone see that the cubesat launched two weeks ago by The Planetary Society has successfully opened the world’s first solar sail? Did everyone see the fantastic picture of it?
  • The best thing about how Jessie deals with the absence of The Long-Suffering Wife is the way she takes off across the yard, even in her ancient, arthritic, and decrepit condition, when she sees The Long-Suffering Wife’s car coming into the driveway. Who fed her, took care of her, cleaned up after her, took her outside over and over, gave her treats… It’s sort of like the way a dad will worth with his son for innumerable hours in Little League baseball or Pop Warner football, and then when the kid gets on national television during his debut he grins at the camera and says, “HI MOM!”
  • 867-5309. Ask for “Jenny.”
  • Has everyone joined The Planetary Society so they can build a full-sized solar sail to test? Plus, you’ll help support their efforts to keep our Congresscritters informed and educated about space and science. Just for taking on that thankless task they should have the support of all of us!

Remember, “Don’t EVER read the comments!”

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Filed under Distracted Driving, Dogs, Family, Freakin' Idiots!, Juicy Chunks, Movies, Music, Science Fiction

Lower Than What?

In which we revisit and update two of my favorite rant topics, idiot drivers and telemarketers. May there be a special level of hell reserved for the both of them.

Here’s the scene: 101 Freeway, southbound (by which I mean headed due east, but that’s a different rant) through Westlake Village. 55 mph zone and there are a fair number of vehicles filling the four lanes, but we’re moving along at 55 to 60. The #1 and #2 lanes are both pretty well packed, with a couple of late-returning holiday campers blocking my view of the #1 lane. #4 lane is full heading off into the distance. I’m in the #3 lane with cars behind me, but no one ahead of me for quite a ways.

Coming up behind and on my right in the “exit only” offramp (#5) lane is a dude in a fast, hot car. He has apparently cut off into that lane with no intent of exiting, floored it up to about 85 in order to pass a dozen or so cars, then cut back into the #4 lane at the last second before the exit. There’s no place to go in the #4 lane, so he cuts off the guy in back of me to pull in behind me. There’s no place else to go but he can see lots of open road ahead of me, so he honks once and then starts flashing his lights at me.

He’s obviously someone Very Important and he’s driving a Very Hot Car. Who am I to stand in his way? I bow to his Importantness and his car’s Hotness, signal, and move over into the #4 lane. As expected, His Very Important Lead-Footedness floors it and is doing about 90 by the time he gets clear of the campers in the #2 lane.

Oops! I’m sorry. Did he not see the CHP patrol car in the #1 lane on the other side of those campers, “leading” the “parade” of cars doing 55 to 60 in the 55 mph zone? I guess I just assumed that His Very Important Lead-Footedness knew about it and wanted to drive like an idiot anyway.

My bad!

The Los Angeles Times had an article yesterday about how the FCC is proposing to change the rules to make it much easier for telecommunication companies to identify and block robocalls and telemarketers. (For convenience and brevity, “robocallers and telemarketers” will heretofore to be referred to as “LTWS,” as in “Lower Than Whale Shit”.) Not surprisingly, this is the number one complaint that they get from consumers.

The technology exists. If you get your phone using VOIP, there are programs which will detect the program at the originating end as an LTWS tool and simply ignore it. Apparently the FCC rules as they stand now are ambiguous at best and most telecoms believe that they are not allowed to do the same for POTS & conventional landline phones.

The FCC is changing this, so that soon (please, please let it be SOON) PacBell or AT&T or Verizon or whoever will be able to offer a service (I’m sure we’ll pay for it, but it will be worth it in my book) so that LTWS calls simply never ring through to your phone. It might not be quite that simple – you might have to block callers one by one as they come in, or possibly “whitelist” numbers that you will accept calls from. But the bottom line is that the local phone companies will be able to jump into the battle to block LTWS calls.

I’ve speculated before on the best way to deal with LTWS calls. Ignore them? Simply pick it up and then hang up? Take out your frustrations and practice creative cursing on them? See how long you can keep them on the phone to waste their time? Try to derive some entertainment from simply screwing with their heads?

This last offers some great opportunities for creativity. I always think, “WWRWD?” (What would Robin Williams do?) Pretend to not speak English? Make odd, bodily function-ish noises at them? Parrot back everything they say? Ask them to repeat something more slowly because you’re taking notes for your FBI report and you didn’t catch that part? Lead them along while occasionally tooting your vuvuzela at them? (“Tooting your vuvuzela” is not a euphemism, by the way.) Pick any Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, or Lily Tomlin character and answer their questions in that voice and character? Switch between characters at random? Start asking them pointed questions about their favorite sex toys and alternative uses for them?

The list goes on and on, but yesterday I got a LTWS call right after reading the LA Times article. My brain went into a completely different direction.

“Hello, I’d like to speak to Paul. Is this Paul?”

I respond with a guttural, Neanderthal-like grunt or two.

“Sir, I’d like to talk to you today…”

“The FCC’s coming for you,” I said using my low-pitched, deep “radio voice.” Think Billy Bob Thorton in “Sling Blade.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“The FCC’s coming for you. You’re all going to jail!” Punctuate deep radio voice with high-pitched, maniacal laugh, then back to radio voice with weird, indeterminate accent. “FCC’s gonna gitcha, boy!” Grunt again a couple of times, then work your way into your best evil villain, mad scientist, “Mwwaaaaahahahaha!!” laugh.


When I’m paying PacBell $1.50 a month to block the LTWS calls, there might be days when I actually need a call or two like this to respond to, just to cheer me up. Maybe there will be a service that allows you to let LTWS calls through for the next twelve hours, for use in just such a situation.

For an additional $1.50 a month, no doubt.



Filed under Distracted Driving, Farce, Freakin' Idiots!, Paul